BMW leading at sunrise in TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai
DUBAI (January 10th, 2009) - As the sun rose over the Dubai Autodrome, the Al Faisal Racing BMW Z4 M Coupe (Abdualziz Al Faisal, Paul Spooner, Claudia Hurtgen, Stian Storlie) was leading the field in the fourth running of the TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai. All teams that were being considered as favourites prior to the race had had their share of problems during the evening and night hours. Even the Al Faisal Racing team didn't have a trouble-free run, losing some ten minutes in the evening when the alignment of the front axle of the BMW had to be adjusted, but that loss of time didn't prevent them from running in the lead after a strong recovery.
Erstwhile leaders, the Land Motorsport Porsche with starting number 41 (Hermann Tilke, Marc Basseng, Christian Land, Dirk Adorf), were left sidelined when their car caught fire at 22.50 h, causing the third neutralisation of the race. Another neutralisation followed a quarter of an hour after the halfway point of the race when the number 53 RJN Motorsport Nissan 350Z (Carlos Tavares, Alexander Buncombe, Chris Buncombe, Richard Meaden) had quite a severe crash, although fortunately just resulting into bodywork damage on the car.
There was a close battle between the Al Faisal Racing BMW and the ARC Bratislava Porsche (Miroslav Konopka, Jiri Janak, Mauro Casadei, Rudiger Klos) for a couple of hours, but around 05.00 h, the BMW took the lead, partly as a result of its slightly better fuel-efficiency, and stayed there for the next couple of hours. The ARC Bratislava Porsche and the Porsches of the Besaplast Racing Team (Martin Tschornia, Franjo Kovac, Roland Asch, Sebastian Asch, Kurt Thiim), Land Motorsport (Carsten Tilke, Gabriel Abergel, Niclas Kentenich), Hubert Bergh Motorsport (Hubert Bergh, Magnus Ohman, Patrick Soderlund, Johan Stureson) were consistently in the top five as well.