Saturday, January 16, 2016

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Gives Audi First Dubai 24 Hour Victory

German manufacture dominance in the United Arab Emirates continues. The #19 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS of Laurens Vanthoor, Stuart Leonard, Michael Meadows and Alain Ferté won the Dubai 24 Hour, Audi's first victory in the event. All eleven editions of the two-around-the-clock endurance race has been won by a German manufacture.

The #19 Audi completed 588 laps and won by five laps over the #16 Black Falcon Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 of Oliver Webb, Adam Christodoulou, Abdulaziz al Faisal, Oliver Morley and Frank Montecalvo. The #16 Mercedes started 98th on the grid after a fire during practice destroyed the team's first car. The team ended up using a show car to compete. The #4 C.ABT Racing Audi of Christer Jöns, Andreas Weishaupt, Issac Tutumlu, Matias Henkola and Daniel Abt rounded out the podium after completing 580 laps.

The #10 Hofor-Racing Mercedes of Michael Kroll, Chantal Kroll, Christiaan Frankenhout, Kenneth Heyer and Roland Eggiman finished fourth, ten laps down. The #10 Mercedes was the top A6-Am class finisher. Rounding out the top five was the #14 Optimum Motorsport Audi of Flick Haigh, Ryan Ratcliffe, Joe Osborne and Frank Stippler, 13 laps down. In sixth was the #22 Preci-Spark Mercedes of David Jones, Godfrey Jones, Morgan Jones, Philip Jones and Gareth Jones. The #34 Car Collection Motorsport Audi of Elmar Grimm, Ingo Vogler, Max Edelhoff, Gustav Edelhoff and Dr. Johannes Kirchhoff finished seventh, 15 laps down.

The first non-German manufacture was the #333 V8 Racing Corvette of Nicky Pastorelli, Alex van t'Hoff, Rich Abresch and Wolf Nathan in eighth after completing 572 laps. Two Lamborghini Huracán GT3s rounded out the top ten. The #7 HB Racing of Robert Renauer, Daniel Allemann, Ralf Bohn and Alfred Renauer finished ninth, 18 laps down with the #26 Konrad Motorsport entry of Rolf Ineichen, Mark Ineichen, Christian Engelhart, Fabio Babini and Franz Konrad rounding out the top ten, 19 laps down. The #26 Lamborghini had an engine failure while running third with less than a half hour to go.

In the 991 class, the #40 Lechner Racing Middle East Porsche of Jaap van Lagen, Saeed Al Mehairi, Bashar Mardini, Sven Mûller and Hasher Al Maktoum were victorious, finishing 11th overall and completing 568 laps.

The SP2 class winner was the #64 Porsche Lorient Racing Porsche of Frédéric Ancel, Christophe Bourret, Pascal Gibon, Jean-François Demorge and Philippe Polette. The French team finished 16th overall, completing 553 laps.

The #229 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 of Anna Walewska, Nathan Freke, Aleksander Schjerpen and Tim Oliphant finished 24th and won the SP3 class after completing 536 laps.

The #1 Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing Seat León Cup of Ramzi Moutran, Nabil Moutran, Sami Moutran and Phil Quaife won the TCR class in 32nd, completing 524 laps.

In 34th, completing 521 laps, was the A3 class winning #208 Team Altran Peugeot of Kim Holmgaard, Guillaume Roman, Thierry Blaise and Stéphane Ventaja.

In A2 class, the #57 LAP57 Racing Team Honda Integra of Mohammed Al Owais, Abdullah Al Hammadi, Nadir Zuhour, Junichi Umemoto and Rupesh Channake won after completing 511 laps, 39th overall.

Finally, the #148 QSR BMW M235i of Pieter Vanneste, Jimmy de Breucker, Mario Timmers, Luc Moortgat and Dylan Derdaele won the Cup1 class, finishing 43rd and completed 505 laps.

The #19 Audi lead 279 laps. Vanthoor becomes the first Belgian to win the Dubai 24 Hour. Ferté became the first French driver to win the event since Patrick Pilet and Raymond Narac won in 2010 with Marco Holzer. Vanthoor and Leonard won the Dubai 24 Hour less than a month after winning Audi's first Sepang 12 Hours.