Dubai 24: Series six hour report

Two cars dominating proceedings in first six hours TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai DUBAI (January 9th, 2009) - Two cars are dominating proceedings out in front in the fourth running of the TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai. Six hours into the race, the...

Two cars dominating proceedings in first six hours TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai

DUBAI (January 9th, 2009) - Two cars are dominating proceedings out in front in the fourth running of the TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai. Six hours into the race, the Land Motorsport Porsche (Hermann Tilke, Marc Basseng, Christian Land, Dirk Adorf) is leading from the Al Faisal Racing team's BMW Z4 M Coupe (Abdualziz Al Faisal, Paul Spooner, Claudia Hurtgen, Stian Storlie) with the ARC Bratislava Porsche (Miroslav Konopka, Jiri Janak, Mauro Casadei, Rudiger Klos) third. The Porsche 997 GT3 RSR of Italian team Autorlando Sport (Francisco Cruz Martins, Gianluca Motorsport, Richard Lietz, Allan Simonsen), that led for most part of the first four hours, lost all its chances of a good result after being hit from behind in a collision, causing a 45 minutes' repair that made the team drop back to 55th place. Just after the six hour mark, the Al Faisal Racing BMW lost ten minutes due to front axle problems, dropping back to 15th overall.

The race got underway at 14.00 h (local time) in bright and sunny conditions with FIA vice-president Mohammed Ben Sulayem officially overlooking the start of the 75 cars taking part in the race. The Autorlando-Porsche, which started from pole-position with Richard Lietz behind the wheel, and the identical Land Motorsport entry, driven by Marc Basseng, were able to pull a gap over Claudia Hurtgen with the Al Faisal Racing BMW Z4 on the first few laps. On lap seven, there was the first lead change as Basseng managed to overtake Lietz.

Two the front runners in qualifying, Equipe Verschuur's Renault Megane Trophy (Bernhard ten Brinke, Hoevert Vos, Harrie Koolen) and the Khaleji Motorsport-Porsche (Cabell Fisher, Tarek Elgammel, Jason Yates, Karim Ojjeh, Karim Al Azhari) became involved in a collision on the third lap already, causing both teams to lose a lot of time for repair. The first team to retire from the race was one of the two cars of the Austrian Duller Motorsport outfit, the team that won the first two runnings of the TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai in 2006 and 2007. Their number 10-BMW M3 E46 GTR (Frederico Bellini, Marco Bonamico, Philippe Baron, Philipp Peter) was out after four laps due to a broken cylinder, which in turn was the result of a fuel pick-up problem.

Three and a half hours into the race was neutralised by the so-called "code 60" (a maximum average speed of 60 km/h allowed for all drivers) after the Renault Clio of the Dutch Carworld Motorsport team (Rob Frijns, Roger Grouwels, Charlie Frijns, Pieter Dubois) had hit the pit wall at high speed, coming out of the final corner. Fortunately, the driver escaped unscathed, but a neutralisation of almost 80 minutes was necessary in order for damaged car to be removed and the damaged pit wall to be repaired. Racing resumed at 17.55.

Half an hour later, the Autorlando Porsche came into the pits with damage to the rear part of the car while leading the race. The repair works lasted some 45 minutes, which handed the lead to the Al Faisal BMW, although the Land Motorsport car was never far off. Now, the more difficult part of the race starts as darkness has fallen over the circuit.

Leading in the SP2 class is the Australian Mal Rose Racing's Holden Commodore (Mal Rose, Peter Leemhuis, Tony Alford) from the Gravity Racing Mosler (Loris de Sordi, Vincent Radermecker, Serge Ludwig, Eric Lux, Gerard Lopez). The best-placed diesel-powered car is the German Tsunami Racing Team's BMW 120D (Alexander Gayday, Alexander Zheludov, Mikhail Ukhov, Alexey Basov, Igor Storchak).

-credit: 24hseries.com

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Series Endurance
Drivers Claudia Hurtgen , Mauro Casadei , Allan Simonsen , Peter Leemhuis , Tony Alford , Mal Rose , Eric Lux , Philipp Peter , Vincent Radermecker , Dirk Adorf , Loris de Sordi , Rudiger Klos , Hoevert Vos , Karim Al Azhari , Aleksey Basov , Serge Ludwig