Dubai, UAE, 12 January 2019: After 607 laps on the 5.39-kilometre Grand Prix Circuit at Dubai Autodrome and 24-hours of intense endurance racing, the #88 Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS crossed the finish line to win the 2019 Hankook 24H Dubai on Saturday (12 January).
Sheikh Juma Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum had the honour of waving the chequered flag to signal the end of 24-hours of racing and immediately afterwards the winning drivers were hoisted unto camels in front of a celebrating crowd for the famous Dubai camel procession in the pit lane.
Sheikh Juma Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, HE Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi (Chairman of the General Sports Authority) and a host of special dignitaries, including rally legend Mohammed Ben Sulayem, attended the official start to the 14th Hankook 24H Dubai on Friday afternoon (11 January).
The VIP guests were met by Dubai Autodrome General Manager Faisal Al Sahlawi and then they enjoyed the traditional grid walk which proceeds the main endurance race.
Sheikh Juma Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum and HE Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi conducted the honorary start of the race, setting the massive grid of cars into action with the waving of UAE flags.
In the openings laps the #88 Audi R8 LMS of Car Collection Motorsport immediately went on the attack to chase down the polesitter, the #63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of GRT Grasser Racing Team.
By late evening on Friday two Audi R8 LMS race cars powered to the front of the pack and locked down the frontrunner positions while behind them chaos reigned.
Solid driving stints from Dimitri Parhofer, Christopher Haase, Frédéric Vervisch and Rik Breukers of Car Collection Motorsport (#88) pushed the German team into the lead and in control of the race throughout the night and into morning.
Mohammed Saud Fahad Al Saud, Michael Vergers, Christopher Mies and Dries Vanthoor of MS7 by WRT in the other Audi R8 LMS (#7) kept up the chase but ultimately the Belgium team could not keep pace with the leaders.
Any hope of an Italian car finally cracking German dominance in the 24H Dubai was dashed early on when the GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán (#63) fell from grace, dropping from pole down to 13th place in the opening hours with mechanical issues. The team did well to recover the car in the pits and fight back to finish fourth overall.
Another Italian make, the Ferrari 488 GT3 of Bohemia Energy Racing (#11), picked up the challenge where the Lamborghini left off, climbing as high as P2 during the race. It couldn’t break the Teutonic stranglehold either but the Ferrari did make it to the winner’s podium with a solid third-place finish.
The most decorated team in 24H Dubai history, Black Falcon, will most likely want to forget their outing this year. Despite a promising outlook early on with the #3 Mercedes AMG GT3, lead by Khaled Al Qubaisi, Luca Stolz, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating, challenging for the front, a retirement due to suspension problems mid-race took one squad out of the mix while the other Black Falcon Mercedes (#2) could only manage P15 by the end of the contest.
Rik Breukers brought the car home for Car Collection Motorsport, giving the team its first 24H Dubai victory and a second win for Audi (2016, 2019).
After fourteen years German cars remain dominant in the event, as no other vehicle make of another country has ever claimed victory in the history of the 24H Dubai.
“Dubai is where it all started for us with CREVENTIC’s inaugural race back in 2006,” said Gerrie Willems on behalf of the Dutch agency, organisers and promoters of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook in co-operation with the Dutch National Racing Team.
“It makes us proud and grateful to see how the event has developed over the years thanks to the continuing support of Dubai Autodrome and Hankook as our title sponsor, combined with the loyalty of our teams and drivers. It is the flagship of our series and ranks as one of the major international endurance race events.”
The battle for A6-Am class honours was a close one, with the HTP Motorsport Mercedes (#25, Alexander Hrachowina / Martin Konrad / Bernd Schneider / Indy Dontje / Brice Bosi) just coming out on top, one lap ahead of the Herberth Motorsport Porsche (#91, Daniel Alleman / Ralf Bohn / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer). Two laps further down, the Car Collection Motorsport Audi (#34, Dr. Johannes Kirchhoff / Gustav Edelhoff / Elmar Grimm / Ingo Vogler) claimed third place in class.
The Leipert Motorsport team won the SPX class with its Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#710, Harald Schlotter / Jake Rattenbury / Marcus Påverud / Khaled Al Mudhaf / Frederik Schandorff). With MRS GT-Racing (#990, Werner Neugebauer / Daniel Schneider / Ricardo Mauricio / Dennis Dirani) and Speed Lover (#778, Dominique Bastien / Gilles Petit / Nigel Farmer / Jean-Michel Gerome), two Porsche teams rounded out the top three in class.
UAE-based team Duel Racing (#950, Ramzi Moutran / Nabil Moutran / Sami Moutran / Charlie Eastwood) scored a popular 991 Cup class win to add to its touring car class wins from previous years. MRS GT-Racing (#980, Helmut Roedig / Christopher Zoechling / Yutaka Matsushima / Gosia Rdest / Wolfgang Triller) and Porsche Lorient Racing (#911, Pascal Gibon / Lionel Amrouche / Frédéric Ancel) came second and third.
There was more success for MRS GT-Racing as the German team won the GT4 class with its BMW M4 GT4 (#426, Franjo Kovac / Tomas Pekar / Fredrik Lestrup / Thomas Tekaat). In a nail-biting finish, the Sorg Rennsport BMW M4 GT4 (#451, Olaf Meyer / Björn Simon / Fidel Leib / Stephan Epp / Simon Tibbett) inherited second place in class after the QSR Racingschool Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#454, Jimmy de Breucker / Rodrigue de Gillion / Michiel Verhaeren / Nico Verdonck) came to a halt with only seven minutes remaining. The Belgian outfit still came third in class.
Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing brings Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR home to win TCE division
With only two Volkswagen Golf GTI TCRs entered for this year’s race in Dubai, Volkswagen may not have had the biggest presence in the TCE field compared to the various Audis and Cupras, but that didn’t prevent the German manufacturer from repeating its TCE division win in Dubai from last year. Newly-created Swiss team Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing drove its Golf GTI TCR (#112, Marlon Menden / Fabian Danz / Yannick Mettler / Stefan Tanner / Jerôme Ogay) to a convincing TCE division and TCR class win, four laps ahead of the Bas Koeten Racing Cupra TCR (#125, Ronny Jost / Julien Apotheloz / Loek Hartog / Oscar Graeper). The Red Camel-Jordans.nl Cupra TCR (#101, Ivo Breukers / Henry Littig / Cody Hill / Klaus Kresnik) rounded out the top three. TCR class pole winners AC Motorsport led for most of the race with the Audi RS 3 LMS (#188, Stépane Perrin / Vincent Radermecker / Tom Boonen / Gilles Magnus), but damage after a collision and a subsequent fire cost valuable time and the team came fifth as a result.
Both teams in the SP3 class had a wide range of troubles, but the Vortex V8 Vortex Scirocco (#301, Philippe Bonnel / Thomas Cordelier / Franck Lefèvre / Nicolas Nobs) took the win in the two-car class from the CWS Engineering Ginetta G55 (#378, Colin White / Steven Wells / Oliver Baron / Angus Fender).
A3 class honours went to the G & R Motorsport BMW E46 M3 (#603, Danny van Dosselaer / Karlo van Dosselaer / Geert Houdhoofdt / Geert Diericx / Jasper Diercx) from the two Lotus PB Racing Lotus Elises (#634, Stefano D’Aste / Matteo Deflorian / Nicolò Liana / Michael Cordini, and #633, Vito Utzieri / Marco Fumagalli / Mauro Guastamacchia / Maurizio Fortina / Mark Speakerwas).
The fun-M Motorsport team saw its BMW M235i Racing Cup (#802, Simon Klemund / Paul Sieljes / Christopher Rink / Ioannis Smyrlis / Harald Rettich) win the CUP1 class, three laps ahead of its only class rival, the DUWO Racing entry (#840, Frédéric Schmit / Nicolas Schmit / Jean-Marie Dumont / Thierry Chkondall / Youssef Bassil) that had led for a long time, but lost time due to a gearbox issue.
In total, the race had 19 code 60 neutralisations with 38 laps completed under code 60 by the leader.
Action in the 24H GT SERIES and 24H TCE SERIES, both powered by Hankook, continues with the Hankook 12H MUGELLO (29-30 March), the start of the European Championship season. However, CREVENTIC will be organising its next event in the Middle East in a fortnight already with the opening round of the 24H SERIES Middle East Championship, the Hankook 6H DUBAI, and the season opener of the TCE MIDDLE EAST Series, both at Dubai Autodrome on 25-26 January. Further information can be found at www.24hseries.com.