Dubai, UAE. 8 January 2018: The 3x3H Dubai Proto Series returned to Dubai Autodrome on Saturday and Sunday (6-7 January) for three endurance rounds.
Saturday, 6 January 2018
Having taken pole position earlier that afternoon, the Simpson Motorsport Ginetta would make a slow start to the race – losing it lead in the process – and time on-track after its first pit stop, allowing the Graff Ligier to hit the front. A late charge though meant it was Jordan Sanders rather than Michal Broniszewski who crossed the line first after 82 laps of the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome. Graff would at least walk away with P3 class victory.
Early contenders for victory also included the Speedworks Motorsport Ligier JS P3 (#22, Jack Butel / Kay van Berlo / Konstantin Gugkaev) only for engine woes to scupper its process. The British-based Ligier was running comfortably at the front before a broken driveshaft brought it’s run to a screeching halt. Simpson Motorsport would suffer a similar setback with its second Ginetta entry (#4, Steve Tandy / Simon Murray), which was officially retired shortly before qualifying with a broken chassis.
The SPIRIT OF RACE Ligier JS P3 (#48, Piergiuseppe Perazzini / Kriton Lendoudis / Marco Cioci / Rui Aguas) would finish 2nd in the P3 class and 5th overall, albeit half a dozen laps further back after issues for Greek driver Lendoudis saw the Ligier swap ends several times on-track before drawing to a halt completely for several minutes at half-distance.
Issues for both P3 entries therefore meant the CN1-winning Krafft Racing Norma M20 FC (#98, Daniel Kirmann / François Kirmann / Marc Vives) completed the podium, cementing the team a second prototype victory in Dubai after last year’s ‘exhibition’ races. The sister entry (#97, Max Bortolami / David Cristini / Régis Tref) would finish its race, without power, on the main straight, but would still be classified 6th.
The event’s home-town entrants – the AUH Motorsport Radical SR3 RSX (#177, Salem Al Nusif / Mohammed Al Nusif / Mohammed Al Hassawi) finished 4th overall, a solid effort given that none of its three-drivers had raced hour-long stints before this weekend.
Sunday, 7 January 2018
In the closing stages of race three, victory had looked set to go to the sister Simpson Motorsport Ginetta G57 (#4, Jordan Sanders / Simon Murray / Charlie Robertson), which had led comfortably throughout the final hour despite losing time during the mid-race pit stops. The #4 prototype though would crawl to a halt on the main straight of the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome after running out of fuel, and would ultimately be classified 2nd.
It was not all doom and gloom for the #4 machine, however. Impressively, despite terminal suspension issues preventing the Ginetta from starting Saturday’s race one at all, the #4 would start from pit road on Sunday morning and charge through the field to win race two outright.
In P3, the Speedworks Motorsport Ligier JS P3 (#22, Jack Butel / Kay van Berlo / Konstantin Gugkaev) walked away with a pair of class wins, having led both races outright intermittently. Despite an errant spin in the closing stages of race three, the British-based Ligier would also round out the overall podium in both races.
Further back in P3, the Graff Ligier JS P3 (#44, Michal Broniszewski / Giacomo Piccini) secured the runners-up spot in both races, the only two-driver line-up in the field finishing 6th overall in the second race and improving to finish 4th overall in race three. Following its 2nd place finish in-class on Saturday, the SPIRIT OF RACE Ligier JS P3 (#48, Piergiuseppe Perazzini / Kriton Lendoudis / Marco Cioci / Rui Aguas) rounded out the P3 podium in both races on Sunday, despite day-long wheel and understeer problems.
In CN1, the Krafft Racing Norma M20 FCs shared the class spoils on Sunday, with the #97 (Max Bortolami / David Cristini / Régis Tref) taking the class win in race two in a nail-biting finish that saw both Normas cross the line barely one tenth of a second apart. In race three, the sister #98 entry (Daniel Kirmann / François Kirmann / Marc Vives) took its second class win of the weekend, but could not replicate its success from race one, in which the Norma finished 3rd overall and on the outright podium. On home turf, the AUH Motorsport Radical SR3 RSX (#177, Salem Al Nusif / Mohammed Al Nusif / Mohammed Al Hassawi) rounded out the CN1 class podiums in both races.
Photos: Aaron Meriwether