Jeroen Bleekemolen nails fastest lap in qualifying
Dubai, UAE, 13 January 2017: The veteran team of Black Falcon looks to return to winning ways in the Hankook 24H Dubai, and Dutch driver Jeroen Bleekemolen has put the team on the right track by securing pole position in qualifying with a best lap of 1m57.705s.
Bleekemolen nabbed pole behind the wheel of the #2 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Khaled Al Qubaisi/Jeroen Bleekemolen/Patrick Assenheimer/Manuel Metzger).
“After our good performance in free practice, I was really confident already. The handling of the car was great and although I had some traffic in qualifying, it was enough to be on pole,” Bleekemolen commented.
The Mercedes-AMG GT3s of Black Falcon teams have enjoyed considerable success in the Hankook 24H Dubai, winning the race in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Last year they were just beaten out by an Audi R8 LMS of Belgian Audi Club Team WRT.
Looking to spoil the Mercedes party will be GRT Grasser Racing Team and their Lamborghini Huracan (#963, Mirko Bortolotti/Chrtistian Engelhart/Rik Breukers/Rolf Ineichen/Mark Ineichen) which qualified second from the Herberth Motorsport Porsche (#911, Daniel Allemann/Ralf Bohn/Robert Renauer/Alfred Renauer/Brendon Hartley).
With the Optimum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (#14, Joe Osborne/Flick Haigh/Ryan Ratcliffe/Christopher Haase) in fourth, four different brands will be represented on the first two rows of the grid for the race that will start tomorrow at 14.00 hrs local time.
Fastest car in the A6-Am class was the IDEC Sport Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#17, Patrice Lafargue/Paul Lafargue/Nicolas Minassian/Alban Varutti) with a time of 2m02.268s set by Paul Lafargue, followed by the Belgian Audi Club WRT Audi (#5, Mohammed Bin Saud Al Saud/Mohammed Bin Faisal Al Saud/Marcel Fässler/Michael Vergers) and the V8 Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1 (#18, Wolf Nathan/Rick Abresch/Luc Braams/Duncan Huisman/Alex van ‘t Hoff).
Arnaud Gomez claimed pole position in the SPX class with the Vortex V8 Vortex (#204, Lionel Amrouche/Cyril Calmon/Olivier Gomez/Arnaud Gomez), with the COOL Racing by GPC Motorsport Vortex (#24, Alexandre Coigny/Gino Forgione/David Iradj Alexander/Tom Dyer) second and the Eurotrac by Bas Koeten Dodge Viper (#19, Bert de Heus/Daniel de Jong/Ivo Breukers/Leon Rijnbeek) third.
Christopher Zöchling was fastest in the 991 class for a long time, but it was Klaus Bachler who eventually put the race:pro motorsport Porsche 911 Cup (#63, Stanislav Minsky/Murad Sultanov/Klaus Bachler/Carlos Rivas/Mark Wallenwein) on pole in class with a lap time of 2m03.556s. The fastest of the two MSG Motorsport cars (#92, Philipp Sager/Alex Autumn/Christopher Zöchling/Nico Rindlisbacher/Stephan Kuhs) ended up second with the Black Falcon TMD Friction Porsche (#69, Burkhard Kaiser/Sören Spreng/Miguel Toril/Bandar Alesayi) third.
Top SP2 car was the Bovi Motorsport Brokernet Silversting (#207, Wolfgang Kaufmann/Kalman Bodis/Jaap van Lagen/Heino Bo Fredriksen) with a time of 2m04.571s set by Van Lagen. The Vortex V8 GC Automobile (#203, Günther Deutsch/Marco Deutsch/Mathieu Pontais/Kurt Thiel) qualified second, followed by the Speed Lover Porsche 991 Cup (#78, Guy Verheyen/Pierre-Yves Paque/Jean-Michel Gerome/Pieder Decurtins/Richard Verburg).
British driver Mike Simpson secured pole position in the SP3-GT4 class with the CWS Ginetta G55 GT4 (#178, Colin White/Tom Hibbert/Mike Simopson/Brandon Gdovic). Simpson posted his time of 2m08.835s fairly early in the session and then remained on top. Jann Mardenborough was second fastest with the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan (#123, Jann Mardenborough/Ricardo Sanchez/Romain Sarazin/Johnny Guindi), followed by the Century Motorsport Ginetta (#229, Nathan Freke/Alden Moffat/Jack Mitchell/Ben Green) thanks to a last-gasp effort by Freke.
In TCR, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen was the early pace-setter with the Team Bleekemolen SEAT Leon TCR (#100, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen/Michael Bleekemolen/Dennis de Borst/Aart-Jan Ringelberg), but he eventually had to make do with second place in class as versatile Swiss racer Mathias Beche claimed class pole with the Modena Motorsports SEAT Leon TCR (#216, Wayne Shen/John Shen/Francis Tjia/Mathias Beche) with a time of 2m11.319s. Third place in class went to the brand-new Cadspeed Racing with Atech Audi RS3 LMS (#108, James Kaye/Julian Griffin/Erik Holstein/Finlay Hutchinson) on the endurance racing debut of the car.
CUP1 qualifying honours were taken by Oskar Sandberg in the Sorg Rennsport BMW (#151, Stephan Epp/Christian Andreas Franz/Michael Hollerweger/Heiko Eichenberg/Oskar Sandberg) with a time of 2m18.099s. The fastest of the two Bonk Motorsport cars (#146, Hermann Bock/Rainer Partl/Max Partl) was second, followed by the second Sorg Rennsport car (#152, Ahmed Al Melaihi/Jesus Diez/José Manuel de los Milagros/George Richardson/Shawn Peh).
Team Altran Peugeot locked out the first two positions in the A3 class, with Gonzalo Martin de Andres putting the number 908 Peugeot 308 (#908, Yusif Bassil/Thierry Boyer/Gonzalo Martin de Andres/Loïc Dupont) on pole with a time of 2m16.141s, followed by the sister car (#308, Guillaume Roman/Thierry Blaise/Kim Holmgaard/Michael Carlsen). The Cor Euser Racing BMW (#71, Sam Allpass/Richard Verburg/Cor Euser/Klaus-Dieter Frommer/Michael Nielsen) was third.