French Porsche team take overall win with UAE team AUH Motorsport winning Class SP3 The French Imsa Performance Matmut Porsche with Raymond Narac, Patrick Pilet and Marco Holzer behind the wheel crossed the line this afternoon at 2pm to win the...
French Porsche team take overall win with UAE team AUH Motorsport winning Class SP3
The French Imsa Performance Matmut Porsche with Raymond Narac, Patrick Pilet and Marco Holzer behind the wheel crossed the line this afternoon at 2pm to win the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai at Dubai Autodrome. The fifth edition of the race was held under the patronage of His Highness Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The winning team started from pole and only briefly lost the lead in the early stages of the race during the pitstops. However the strategy by the team was such that they were able to consolidate their lead during the night and from then on controlled the race, completing 608 laps of the Dubai Autodrome Grand Prix circuit configuration. They were also Class A6 winners.
Patrick Pilet who drove the car across the finish line to take the chequered flag said afterwards, "This is a fantastic win for our team on our first attempt here at Dubai Autodrome. We had some anxious moments during the 24 hours but our team dealt with all problems rapidly and efficiently. This was a great team effort from the mechanics right through to the drivers and we are very happy. Dubai is a great place and we will be back."
Although it was virtually a lights to flag victory for the Imsa Mamut team they were pushed hard throughout the 24 hours by the two BMWs of Japanese team Petronas Syntium Team and Saudi Arabian entry Al Faisal Racing. Both teams gave relentless pursuit throughout the 24 hours but the Petronas Syntium Team had to settle for second place overall, a mere three laps behind the leaders after the 24 hours. They were Class A5 winners.
Al Faisal Racing, who finished second last year, again showed strongly throughout the race but could only manage third place overall despite a mammoth effort by the drivers in the final hours.
Some of the pre-race favourites fell by the wayside including last year's winners, the number 1 Land Motorsport-Porsche which was sidelined after the engine was over revved. One of the biggest incidents during the race was the number AF Corse Ferrari which was involved in a collision with a slower car with NASCAR star Michael Waltrip at the wheel. The American veteran could not avoid collision with an out of control car appeared in his path on the track. The Ferrari incurred considerable damage and was forced to retire.
There was joy for UAE based teams contesting the race, notably the AUH Motorsports Aston Martin 2 with Emiratis driver Humaid Al Masaood, Michael Prophet, Eric Charles and Alex Kapadia sharing the driving who powered to victory in the tightly contested SP3 Class. Team principal Carl Roalston was delighted with the team's calss win in their first ever 24 hours endurance race, "This is a fantastic moment for our team to win here on home turf in the Dunlop 24 Hoursof Dubai is a dream come true. Our drivers put in a great show and the team was superb throughout a stressful event for everyone. Being on the top of the podium is reward for hard work and a big boost for UAE motorsport."
Also impressing in their debut in the 24 Hours of Dubai were locally based Duel Racing Team who drove their Renault Clio to second place in the Class A2 with their drivers the Moutran brothers Sami, Ramzi and Nabil with Sheikh Salman Bin Rashid Al Khalifa. They chased eventual winners Team Sally Racing Renault Clio throughout the 24 hours but fell short by 11 laps by the time the chequered flag fell to end the race.
There was heartbreak for last year's winners of the SP3 Class, as Dubai based DXB Racing Aston Martin looked set to repeat the feat until mechanical problems intervened which cost them a great deal of time and dropped them down the order. They gave a gallant chase to try and make it on to the podium but were denied, finishing fourth in class.
Also succumbing to mechanical gremlins was the Al Qasba Team Lap 57 UAE Team Honda Civic. They were forced to change gearboxes twice during the course of the race, but despite this managed to make it to the end which in itself was a victory for the teams who crossed the finish line after 24 hours.
Dubai Autodrome Chairman Saeed Khalfan said at the end, "Once again the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai was a fantastic race and my congratulations go to all the class winners with particular mention to the winning team Imsa, Preformance Matmut Racing. Also special mention to the UAE teams who once again did us proud. We hosted over 2000 people in our city including drivers, team crew and media. They were all very impressed by Dubai and our cicuit and I hope to see them all back here again next year,"
-source: dubai autodrome