Dutch driver Nicky Pastorelli made it clear that one doesn’t necessarily need the latest GT3 machinery to drive a quickly lap around the 5.399 kilometres long Dubai Autodrome. With the 2006 model V8 Racing Corvette C6-R he is sharing with Wolf Nathan, Danny Werkman, Rick Abresch and Alex van ‘t Hoff/, he set a lap time of 1.57.282 minutes to claim pole position for the ninth running of the Dunlop 24 Hours at Dubai Autodrome
Nicky Pastorelli, "It was perfect. The car had only two practice laps in the morning, but it handled really great. Most importantly we were on track at the exact right moment, we had no traffic and the temperatures were just right and of course I did a good lap. This is the result of a combination of these things. I was surptised by the lap time, we were expecting 1 minute 59 seconds or 1 minute 58 seconds, but not as quick as we did now in qualifying."
"Of course we will not have this pace in the race. We will have weight added for the race, we will have a full tank and you can't push the car for 24 hours like this. But we will try to be the quickest, and we will see what the pace is."
"The only real advantage you have starting from pole in a 24 hours race is that your chances of getting caught up in an accident in the first corner, or first lap is small compared to being in the middle of the field," concluded the Pastorelli.
Last year's winning team and fan favourites - Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon Mercedes who are seeking an unprecedented hat-trick of victories at the ninth edition of the race - were second fastest with Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen doing the qualifying stint.
Emirati ace Khaled Al Qubaisi remains confident ahead of his home race, "Being on the front row is good for us and will help to avoid problems at the start, and afterwards I believe we have the team capable of fighting for victory. It won't be easy, but we will give it our best shot. It's a long, tough race and we are ready to fight for the win in memory of our much missed teammate Sean Edwards who tragically passed away last year."
Al Qubaisi shares the driving with multiple German DTM champion Bernd Schneider, Sweden's Andreas Simonsen and Bleekemolen.
The sister Team Adu Dhabi by Black Flacon Mercedes, with Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal in the line-up, will start from fourth and directly behind their teammates.
Topping the A3T Class was the Dubai based Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing Seat with three brothers Sami, Nabil and Ramzi Moutran along with Phil Quaife doing the driving. They will start from 50th on the grid.
Fastest in Class A2 was the LAP57 Honda with UAE champions Umair Khan, Mohamed Al Owais and Nader Zuhour sharing the driving with Japan's Junichi Umemoto and Emirati driver Abdullah Al Hammadi.
It was mixed fortunes for other teams with UAE connections, with the Dragon Racing's pair of Ferraris ending the session 22nd and 23rd respectively with the likes of Rob Barff, Jordan Grogor, Bassam Kronfli and Khaled Al Mudhaf in the line up.
Emirati driver Bashar Mardini, in the GDL Racing Porsche will start from 29th; the SVDP Racing Honda will start 71st and the QMMF Suzuki from 75th on the grid.
The Dunlop 24 hours of Dubai starts tomorrow, Friday, 10 January at 14.00 pm.
All the action will be covered live by Motors TV and live commentary on radiolemans.com, and a live feed at Motorsport.com