Plenty of action in first two hours at Dunlop 24H of Dubai
DUBAI (January 14th, 2011) In bright sunshine at the Dubai Autdrome, 84 cars got underway for the sixth running of the Dunlop 24H of Dubai, the first international endurance race of the year for GTs, touring cars and 24H specials. Many guests had turned out to watch the action in the opening stages of the race, among them Mohammed Bin Sulayem, the president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATCUAE), vice- president Motorsport of the FIA and the driver who has won more FIA championships and more international rallies than any other driver in history. Lamborghinis dominated proceedings in the first hour of the race, Frenchman Fabien Giroix leading after the first lap with the Lamborghini from the locally-based Gulf Team First, but he was soon overtaken by Dutch driver Peter Kox in the Blancpain-Reiter Engineering-Lamborghini who retained the lead for the remainder of the first hour.
The race saw the first "code 60" after one lap already, the earliest neutralisation in history of the Dunlop 24H of Dubai. The reason for the "code 60" (a set maximum speed of 60 km/h for all drivers on the track) was a massive crash by Austrian driver Vitus Eckert in the numer 32-Jetalliance Racing-Porsche. The driver escaped unscathed, but the car was massively damaged and obviously out of the race. Once the damaged car was removed, normal racing resumed on lap 7.
A nice battle between Fabien Giroix and German lady racer Claudia Hurtgen in the BMW Z4 ended with Hurtgen overtaking Giroix in a spectacular way. Giroix then also lost a two more positions to Bernd Schneider and Thomas Jager in two of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG cars that are making their 24H debut in Dubai.
In the second hour, disaster struck for the Blancpain-Reiter team as their car got stuck with Marc A. Hayek behind the wheel. The car was brought back to the pits, but the team dropped back to 77th overall and is still in the pits. After two hours, the number 43-Land Motorsport-Porsche (Tilke/Munnich/Lauck/Land) is leading from the number 9-Heico Motorsport- Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (Schneider/Bosi/Arnold/Frankenhout/Wirth) and the number 83-Gulf Team First-Lamborghini (Giroix/Fatien/Goethe/Wainwright).
Class leaders after 2 hours:
SP3: Nr 120 NFS Racing-Lotus Evora (Mowlem/D'Aste/G.Mansell/L.Mansell/Giudici)
SP2: Nr. 2 Gravity Racing International-Mosler (Radermecker/De Sordi/Lux/Lopez/Enge)
997: Nr. 33 De Lorenzi Racing 2-Porsche (Formili Fendi/Parato/Piodi/Mastronardi)
A6: Nr. 43 Land Motorsport-Porsche (Tilke/Munnich/Lauck/Land)
A4: Nr. 52 Kueperracing-BMW M3 (Kupper/Crow/Miller/Alber)
A3T: Nr. 60 SUNRED-SEAT Leon Supercopa (Ibran/Matejovsky/Oriola/Rossi)
A2: Nr. 82 Jetblack Racing-Renault Clio (Majgaard/Borger/Trager/Bremer)
D1: Nr. 130 VW Racing Austria 1-Volkswagen Golf TDI (Pranger/Waldherr/"Tessitore"/Beisel)