German cars dominate 12th edition of iconic endurance race
Dubai, UAE, 15 January 2017: The Herberth Motorsport team, in their 991 GT3 R spec Porsche 911, has won the 12th Hankook 24H Dubai at Dubai Autodrome, crossing the line after 578 laps around the 5.39km Grand Prix Circuit.
Driven by Daniel Allemann, Ralf Bohn, Robert Renauer, Alfred Renauer and Brendon Hartley, the team took the chequered flag and victory on Saturday (14 January) afternoon.
The 2015 FIA World Endurance champion Brendon Hartley is no stranger to success, but his team’s triumph at the Autodrome was special. He said, “It was an awesome experience! My first race with a GT car, my first race in a 911, and now my first victory in a 24-hour race. A great car, great team-mates and a great performance.”
German teams and cars enjoyed a brilliant race, with an all-German team victory podium and Teutonic vehicles securing the top eight positions. Porsche fared especially well, with Herberth Motorsport (#911) nabbing the top step of the podium and Manthey Racing (#12), with drivers Otto Klohs, Sven Müller, Matteo Cairoli, and Jochen Krumbach, taking second.
Local favourite Black Falcon won pole position early on and challenged for the lead throughout the contest with two Mercedes-AMG GT3s. One car (#2) retired after an early morning collision, leaving the other A6-Pro class vehicle (#3), driven by Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Hubert Haupt, Yelmer Buurman, Michal Broniszewski, and Maro Engel, to carry on and claim third place.
Known as a highly demanding endurance race, the Hankook 24H Dubai is renowned for thinning the grid as the hours tick by. Of the 92 cars that started, only 65 made it to the chequered flag.
The challenge attracts top drivers from around the world; with 2017 featuring racing celebrities such as three times 24 Hours of Le Mans champion Marcel Fässler and ex-Formula 1 stars Jean-Eric Vergne and Robert Kubica.
In the A6-Am category, Hofor Racing continued its success from last season with its new Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#1) winning the class. GP Extreme finished second with its Renault RS01 FGT3 (#27), followed by the Audi R8 LMS of Car Collection Motorsport (#34).
Italian brands struggled in A6-Pro but flexed their muscle in class SPX, with two Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo cars taking the top two positions. GDL Racing Middle East (#87) won the class followed by Leipert Motorsport (#10). Third in class was claimed by a Porsche 991 Cup MR by Fach Auto Tech (#51).
The 991 category, for 2014-15 Porsche 991 Cup cars, was won by Black Falcon Team TMD Friction (#68) over PROsport Performance (#85) and RacePro motorsport (#63).
For the GT specials, SP2 class was topped by the Bovi Motorsport Brokernet Silversting (#207), followed by the KTM X-BOW of Reiter Engineering (#247) and the MARC Focus V8 of VDS Racing Adventures (#58).
SP3 belonged to British metal, with Ginetta G55 GT4 sports cars punching one-two in class. Optimum Motorsport (#231) took home the first place class trophy and Century Motorsport (#229) second. The GDL Racing Team Asia Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR (#267) collected third.
In the touring car categories, an Audi RS3 LMS by Cadspeed Racing with Atech (#108) made its competition debut in Dubai this weekend and came away with a TCR class victory. Long-time class leader Modena Motorsport SEAT Leon TCR V2 SEQ (#216) settled for second place while another SEAT by Zest Racecar Engineering (#105) got third.
Top honours in the A3 touring category went to Team Altran Peugeot in two Peugeot 208 GTi cars, with a first (#308) and second (#908) place finish. The PB Racing Lotus Elise Cup PB-R (#133) snuck in the mix for third.
CUP1 class, for BMW M235i Racing Cup cars, was controlled by team Sorg Rennsport, with winning cars in first (#151) and second (#152). Best of the rest belonged to a Bonk Motorsport entry (#146).
A Peugeot RCZ driven by Danish Team Eva Solo/K-Rejser (#171) won the A2 class over a Renault Clio Cup IV by Team Cooksport (#172), while third place went to the Team Sally Racing 1 Renault Clio Cup III (#52).
Report: Aaron Meriwether
Photos: Darren Rycroft & Aaron Meriwether