With its Porsche 991 GT3 R, German team Herberth Motorsport has won the Hankook 24H DUBAI. In the twelfth running of the event, drivers Daniel Allemann, Ralf Bohn, Robert Renauer, Alfred Renauer and Brendon Hartley racked up a total of 578 laps of the 5.399 kilometres long Dubai Autodrome. “It was an awesome experience! My first race with a GT car, my first race in a 911, and my first victory in a 24-hour race. A great car, great team-mates and a great performance,” Hartley commented. “We have had some good success in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook last year, but this certainly is our biggest success so far,” said Robert Renauer, who drove the winning car across the finish line. For Porsche, it was the fifth victory in the Hankook 24H DUBAI after earlier wins in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2014. This time, it was even a 1-2 for the German manufacturer as the Manthey Racing Porsche (#12, Otto Klohs/Sven Müller/Matteo Cairoli/Jochen Krumbach) finished second, two laps down on the winning entry. A three times’ Dubai race winner, the Black Falcon team saw its Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#3, Abdulaziz Al Faisal/Hubert Haupt/Yelmer Buurman/Michal Broniszewski/Maro Engel) finish third. Buurman posted the fastest lap time of the race.
Between them, the Manthey and Herberth Motorsport Porsche teams spent more than three quarters of the race in the lead of the field. Driving the Manthey car around 5.30 hrs, Otto Klohs became involved in a collision with another vehicle, after which some repair on the left front side of the Porsche was required. That gave the Herberth team a slight advantage to which it held on for the final eight hours of the race. In total, the Herberth Motorsport Porsche led the field for 380 laps. The two Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 both were in contention for a podium finish, running in the top four until well after sunrise, but then local hero Khaled Al Qubaisi, driving the #2 car, spun and collected the #963 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini (Mirko Bortolotti/Christian Engelhart/Rik Breukers/Rolf Ineichen/Mark Ineichen). Both cars retired after the accident. Earlier in the race, the Austrian team’s #964 car (Mirko Bortolotti/Christian Engelhart/Ezequiel Companc/Rolf Ineichen/Adrian Amstutz) had already retired following a collision while the HB Racing Lamborghini (#7, Herbert Handlos/Norbert Siedler/Sam Tordoff/Florian Spengler/Andrea Amici) was out early in the race following a burst tyre that damaged the fuel line and led to a fire. Polish ex-Formula 1 racer Robert Kubica didn’t make it to the finish either in his first-ever 24h race as the car on which he was entered, the Forch Racing powered by Olimp (#29, Robert Lukas/Marcin Jedlinski/Wolf Henzler/Santiago Creel/Robert Kubica) retired with technical issues.
Reigning 24H SERIES teams’ champions, Hofor Racing, won the A6-Am class on the first competitive outing with its new Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#1, Michael Kroll/Chantal Kroll/Roland Eggimann/Kenneth Heyer/Christiaan Frankenhout) after a largely trouble-free run. GP Extreme finished second in class with its Renault RS01 FGT3 (#27, Frédéric Fatien/Tiziano Carugati/Nicky Pastorelli/Stuart Hall), followed by Car Collection Motorsport’s Audi R8 LMS (#34, Dr. Johannes Kirchhoff/Gustav Edelhoff/Max Edelhoff/Elmar Grimm/Ingo Vogler).
Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo cars scored a 1-2 in the SPX class with victory for GDL Racing Middle East (#87, Franck Pelle/Rory Penttinen/Vic Rice/Pierre Ehret), followed by Leipert Motorsport (#10, Oliver Webb/Jake Rattenbury/Jean-Charles Perrin/Harald Schlotter), a fine performance by the team that started from the back of the grid due to a chassis change following an incident in practice. The Fach Auto Tech Porsche (#51, Thomas Fleischer/Peter Joos/Marcel Wagner/Heinz Bruder/Martin Ragginger) came third in class.
The Black Falcon Team TMD Friction won the Porsche 991 Cup class with its #68 car (Saud Al Faisal/Saeed Al Mouri/Anders Fjordbach/Alexander Toril), from Prosport Performance (#85, Charles Putman/Charles Espenlaub/Joe Foster/Andy Pilgrim) and race:pro motorsport (#63, Stanislav Minsky/Murad Sultanov/Klaus Bachler/Carlos Rivas/Mark Wallenwein).
The SP2 class saw the Bovi Motorsport Brokernet Silversting (#207, Wolfgang Kaufmann/Kalman Bodis/Jaap van Lagen/Heino Bo Fredriksen) come out on top from the Reiter Engineering KTM X-BPW (#247, Anthony Mantella/Dore Chaponick jr./Brett Sandberg/Benjamin Mazatis) and the VDS Racing Adventures MARC Focus V8 (#58, Raphaël van der Straten/Joël Vanloocke/Grégory Paisse/Pierre Dupont/José Close).
British sports car brand Ginetta scored a 1-2 in the SP3-GT4 class. Optimum Motorsport (#231, Stewart Linn/Ade Barwick/Dan O’Brien/William More) won by a comfortable margin from Century Motorsport (#229, Nathan Freke/Aiden Moffat/Jack Mitchell/Ben Green). The GDL Racing Team Asia Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR (#267, Jonathan Hui/Frank Yu/Antares Au/Kevin Tse) came third.
Making its competition debut in Dubai this weekend, the Audi RS3 LMS scored a class win in the TCR category with the Cadspeed Racing with Atech entry (#108, James Kaye/Julian Griffin/Erik Holstein/Finlay Hutchison). A long-time class leader, the Modena Motorsport SEAT Leon TCR (#216, Wayne Shen/John Shen/Francis Tjia/Mathias Beche) came second, with the Zest Racecar Engineering SEAT (#105, Philippe Ulivieri/Gosia Rdest/John Allen/JT Coupal/John Weisberg) third.
A3 touring class honours went to the Team Altran Peugeot with the victory for the #308 Peugeot 208 GTi (Guillaume Roman/Thierry Blaise/Kim Holmgaard/Michael Carlsen) and second for the #908 sister car (Yusif Bassil/Thierry Boyer/Gonzalo Martin de Andres/Loïc Dupont). The PB Racing Lotus Elise Cup (#133, Stefano D’Aste/Stefano Pasotti/Lorenzo Pegoraro/Immanuel Vinke/Michele Bartyan) came third.
German team Sorg Rennsport scored a 1-2 in the CUP1 class with its #151 BMW M235i Racing Cup Car (Stephan Epp/Christian Andreas Franz/Michael Hollerweger/Heiko Eichenberg/Oskar Sandberg) in first and the #152 sister car (Ahmed Al Melaihi/Jesus Diez/José Manuel de los Milagros/George
Richardson/Shawn Peh) in second, followed by the Bonk Motorsport entry (#146, Hermann Bock/Rainer Partl/Max Partl).
Danish Team Eva Solo/K-Rejser won the A2 class with its Peugeot RCZ (#171, Jacob Kristensen/Jan Engelbrecht/Thomas Sørensen/Jens Mølgaard/Henrik Sørensen) from the Team Cooksport Renault Clio Cup IV (#172, Alex Sedgwick/Shayne Deegan/Oliver Cook/Jonathan Maybin/Josh Cook) and the Team Sally Racing 1 Renault Clio Cup III (#52, Martin Sally Pedersen/Peter Obel/Steffan Jusjong/Sune Marcussen/Mads Christensen).
24H SERIES powered by Hankook action continues with the Hankook 12H MUGELLO (17-18 March).
Source. Creventic/Photo. Petr Frýba and Boost Racing Images
Sascha Pilz, Head of GT Customer Motorsport: “I’m very pleased with this outcome of the 911 GT3 R at the start of its second race season and proud of the performance of our customer teams. Once again, the customer vehicle has demonstrated its competitiveness in long distance racing. We can now look forward to the next season highlight; the Rolex 24 in Daytona.”
Brendon Hartley (911 GT3 R #911): “That was a great team effort from Herberth Motorsport. I only met the squad for the first time on Wednesday and I immediately felt at home. My first outing in a GT-Porsche was a great experience and I hope that I’ll be back again next year. I love driving the 911 GT3 R on the road and now I’ve also fallen in love with the racing version.”
Sven Müller (911 GT3 R #12): “To begin my first season as a Porsche works driver on the podium is fantastic. We put in a very strong team performance. Towards the end we had a puncture so we couldn’t fight for victory, but second place is more than we had expected.”
Matteo Cairoli (911 GT3 R #12): “What a great start to the season. This is my first podium result at a 24-hour race and it makes me want more. Thanks to the entire team for this incredible performance.”
Mathieu Jaminet (911 GT3 R #76): “I’m thrilled with my first 24-hour race. Fifth place is a great result for us. We didn’t make any mistakes and our 911 GT3 R ran faultlessly over the entire distance. A double victory and fifth place for us – that’s a fabulous start to the season for Porsche.”