Dubai 24H: Series hour 12 report

A close battle between BMW and Porsche at the halfway mark in Dunlop 24H of Dubai DUBAI (January 16th, 2010) - It is a close call between the number 66-IMSA Performance Matmut-Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Raymond Narac/Patrick Pilet/Marco Holzer) and...

A close battle between BMW and Porsche at the halfway mark in Dunlop 24H of Dubai

DUBAI (January 16th, 2010) - It is a close call between the number 66-IMSA Performance Matmut-Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Raymond Narac/Patrick Pilet/Marco Holzer) and the number 40-Petronas Syntium Racing Team BMW Z4 Coupe (Nobutaru Taniguchi/Masataka Yanagida/Farique Hairuman/Johannes Stuck/Hiroki Yoshida) at the halfway point in the fifth anniversary edition of the Dunlop 24H of Dubai. After twelve hours in the race and with the same amount of time still remaining, the BMW is leading with 291 laps, only one lap ahead of the Porsche. Last year's runners-up, the number 2-Al Faisal Racing BMW Z4 Coupe (Abdulaziz Al Faisal/Claudia Hurtgen/Marco Hartung/Khalad Al Faisal) is another two laps down in third place.

The IMSA Performance Matmut-Porsche RSR is faster than the BMWs, but is also less efficient on fuel, meaning that it has to come in for refuelling more often than its opponents. The other IMSA Performance-Matmut-Porsche (Christophe Bourret/Pascal Gibbon/Richard Balandras) dropped back on the leaderboard as the clutch had to be replaced on the car in the twelfth hour of the race.

The relatively high race pace took its toll in the first half of the race, quite a few teams having retired already. Among the early retirements were the Auto Racing Club Bratislava-Porsche (Miroslav Konopka/Oliver Morley/Sean Edwards/Richard Cvornjek) and the Besaplast-Porsche (Franjo Kovac/Martin Tschornia/Kurt Thiim/Roland Asch/Sebastian Asch). The latter team that finished third in last year's race was out of contention after their car caught fire on the main straight with Martin Tschornia behind the wheel, seven and a half hours into the race. The unfortunate driver escaped unscathed, but the car was damaged beyond immediate repair.

Last year's winners, the number 1-Land Motorsport-Porsche (Gabriel Abergel/Xavier Pompidou/Carsten Tilke/Otto Klohs) was sidelined as well after Tilke had over-revved the engine. Almost at the same time, the number 148-AF Corse Ferrari (Robert Kaufmann/Michael Waltrip/Marcos Ambrose/Rui Aguas/Niki Cadei) became involved in a collision with another car. NASCAR- star Michael Waltrip, who drove his first-ever 24-hour race in Dubai, couldn't avoid the collision when the other car started swerving in front of him. The Ferrari also incurred considerable damage and retired. Up to the time of the accident, the Ferrari had been consistently in the top ten, running as high as sixth at times.

Amidst the Porsche and BMWs out in front, there are also two teams who prove that it doesn't have to be a sports car to rank among the top ten. The SEAT Leon Supercopa car of the Spanish SUNRED-team (Oscar Nogues/Michael Rossi/Ferran Monje/Borja Veiga) and the BMW 120D of the BMW Team Hungary with Efficient Dynamics (Laszlò Palik/Janos Vida/Czaba Walter/Gabor Weber) were leading their respective classes in ninth and tenth place overall.

-source: 24h series

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Series Endurance
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Claudia Hurtgen , Marcos Ambrose , Xavier Pompidou , Masataka Yanagida , Richard Balandras , Farique Hairuman , Raymond Narac , Patrick Pilet , Sean Edwards , Kurt Thiim , Sebastian Asch , Laszlo Palik , Martin Tschornia , Michael Rossi , Janos Vida , Gabor Weber , Roland Asch , Christophe Bourret , Abdulaziz Al Faisal , Hiroki Yoshida , Otto Klohs
Teams AF Corse , IMSA Performance Matmut