German Maro Engel, a former winner of the FIA GT World Cup, hadn’t raced at Dubai Autodrome since 2017, but that didn’t prevent him from claiming the outright pole position for this week’s 15th running of the Hankook 24H DUBAI. A lap time of 1m57.490s at the 5.390km long Dubai Autodrome was enough for Engel to secure pole position with the Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#777, Maro Engel / Luca Stolz / Philip Ellis / Patrick Assenheimer / Martin Konrad). It was also the first pole position for Mercedes-AMG in the Hankook 24H DUBAI since 2017.
“I really owe this one to the team, the guys have done an unbelievable job in repairing the car after an accident in testing yesterday. I think they were working until four in the morning, so it is nice to be able to give something back to them,” Maro Engel said after qualifying. “As usual, traffic was a big issue in qualifying, but I got a more or less decent lap in that was enough for pole position.” In a clean sweep of the front row for the Mercedes-AMG GT3, Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen qualified the Black Falcon car (#4, Khaled Al Qubaisi / Hubert Haupt / Ben Barker / Manuel Metzger / Jeroen Bleekemolen) second on the grid, only 0.047 seconds down. Third fastest in qualifying was Porsche works driver Sven Müller in the Herberth Motorsport-Porsche 911 GT3 R (#91, Sven Müller / Ralf Bohn / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer).
The HTP Winward Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#84, Al Faisal Al Zubair / Maximilian Götz / Maximilian Buhk / Christiopher Brück / Indy Dontje) qualified fourth, followed by the MS7 by WRT Audi R8 LMS (#7, Mohammed Saud Fahad Al Saud / Michael Vergers / Dries Vanthoor / Christopher Mies / Rik Breukers) in fifth place.
With the MP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#19, Daniël de Jong / Henk de Jong / Bert de Heus / Jaap van Lagen) securing pole position in the GT3-Am class in sixth overall in the hands of Jaap van Lagen, Mercedes-AMG is starting from first place in both GT3 classes. The second Toksport WRT
Mercedes (#70, Axcil Jeffferies / Alexander Hrachowina / George Kurtz / Martin Konrad / Finlay Hutchinson) ended up second in GT3-Am in eighth overall. Third fastest in the GT3-Am class, the Saintéloc Racing Audi R8 LMS (#26, Pierre-Yves Paque / Christian Kelders / Daniel Desbrueres / Michael Blanchemain / Steven Palette) just missed out on the top ten overall.
Fastest GTX qualifier was the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Hurcacán Super Trofeo (#710, Gregg Gorski / Gerhard Watzinger / JM Littman / Yury Wagner / Tom Dillmann). It was Tom Dillmann who put the car on top in its class in the early stages already and then went on to improve his own fastest time once more. He remained unbeaten by the opposition. Second place in class went to another Lamborghini Super Trofeo car, the entry of the UAE-based Dragon Racing team (#788, James Geddie / Glynn Geddie / Adam Balon / Phil Keen), with Cor Euser Racing’s MARC II V8 (#717, Richard Verburg, Nigel Farmer / Keong Liam Lim / Cor Euser / Einar Thorsen) rounding out the top three in class.
Two Porsche Supercup regulars, Dutchman Larry ten Voorde and Luxemburg’s Dylan Pereira, battled it out for pole position in the 991 class. Eventually, it was ten Voorde who came out on top with the race:pro motorsport Porsche (#996, Bertram Hornung / Matthias Jeserich / Christian Voigtländer / Max Weering / Larry ten Voorde), the team having changed the car’s engine overnight. Pereira had to make do with second in the DUWO Racing car (#909, Andrey Mukovoz / Sergey Peregudov / Stanislav Sidoruk / Dylan Pereira). The HRT Performance Porsche (#969, Hans Holmund / Tommy Gråberg / Erik Behrens / Holger Harmsen / Leon Köhler) qualified third in class.
Canadian driver Nickolas Wittmer secured pole position in the GT4 class for the ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 (#438, Samantha Tan / John Boyd / Nickolas Wittmer / Jon Miller). An early flyer by Wittmer saw the team take first place and it stayed on top for the remainder of the session. With the Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport car (#469, Michael Schrey / Michael Fischer / Marc Ehret / Gabriele Piana / Tobas Müller) second and the Century Motorsport entry (#430, Angus Fender / Brett Strom / Ben Hurst / Daren Jorgensen / Nathan Freke) third, BMW teams locked out the top three in the GT4 class.
Colin White secures second consecutive TCE pole for CWS Engineering Ginetta in Hankook 24H DUBAI
DUBAI (9 January 2020) – Repeating his team’s qualifying success from last year at the same venue, Colin White unleashed the full potential of his CWS Engineering Ginetta G55 (#278, Colin White / Bradley Scorer / Jean-François Brunot / Fraser Robertson / Adam Hatfield) to put the car on TCE division pole position for the 15th running of the Hankook 24H DUBAI. White’s time of 2m08.531saround the 5.390km long circuit meant an improvement of over half a second compared to last year’s pole-winning time at Dubai. With the fastest time in the TCE division, the CWS Ginetta also topped the time sheets in the TCX class.
“I was able to benefit from a good slipstream from a TCR car. My fastest lap ever around Dubai Autodrome, I am really pleased with that,” Colin White reported to Radiolemans.com’s Johnny Palmer. Rain has been forecast for the race, but White isn’t particularly worried by that, as he quickly pointed out: “We all like the wet, we are from England, you know!”
The fastest TCR driver was 21-year-old Swede Oliver Söderström, who came out on top of his class courtesy of a lap time of 2m09.614s with the fastest of the two Lestrup Racing Team Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR (#111, Hannes Morin / Martin Öhlin / Oliver Söderström / Marcus Fluch). “I had a really clean lap. I got a little help with a tow from an Audi, that helped me to secure pole position,” Söderström commented.
The Lestrup Racing Team Volkswagen will be starting alongside the CWS Ginetta from the front row of the TCE division grid. Next up in the TCR class are the BBR Cupra (#107, Kantadhee Kusiri / Kantasak Kusiri / Anusorn Asiralertsiri / Munkong Sathienthirakul / Chariya Nuya), second in class and third overall, and the fastest of the two Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Volkswagen Golfs (#112, Alberto Vescovi / Roberto Ferri / Miklas Born / Constantin Kletzer / Yannick Mettler). For the Swiss team, TCE race winners at Dubai last year, the slot on the second row of the TCE grid was a nice reward for the huge effort to repair the car after damage incurred in testing on Wednesday.
The TOPCAR Sport with Bas Koeten Racing Cupra (#131, Fabian Danz / Antti Buri / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Ronny Jost) qualified fourth in TCR and fifth overall in the TCE division. With the AC Motorsport Audi (#188, Stéphane Perrin / Vincent Radermecker / Tom Boonen / Gilles Magnus / Matthew Taskinen), TCR pole sitters at Dubai in the past two years, fifth in class and the KCMG Honda Civic (122, Paul Ip / Jim Ka To / Andy Yan / Kenneth Ma / Henry Lee Jr.) sixth, cars from four different brands made it into the top six of the TCR class.
Behind the overall pole-winning CWS Ginetta, also fastest in the TCX class, the second car from the TCX class was the Nordschleife Racing Ligier JS2 R (#226, Guillaume Roman / Thierry Blaise / François Riaux / Michel Sallenbach) in twelfth overall. Rounding out the top 3 in the TCX class was the Team ACP – Tangerine Associates BMW M240i Racing Cup (#321, Catesby Jones / Ken Goldberg / Damon Daniueli / Dr Jim Norman).
Fastest in the TC class was the Nordschleife Racing Peugeot 308 Racing Cup car (#172, Thierry Boyer / Philippe Baffoun / Thierry Chkondali / Bruno Derossi / Rhys Lloyd). Lloyd, the only British driver in an otherwise all-French line-up, put in a fast lap time early in the session that remained unbeaten in the remainder of TCE qualifying. The team ended up eight tenth of a second faster than the Sorg Rennsport BMW M240i Racing Cup (#351, Skip Woody /Johan Schwartz / Benito Tagle / Mark Brummond) while the fun-M Motorsport BMW M240i Racing Cup (#302, Vincent Piemonte / Oscar Jackson / Recep Sari / Eric Zimmermann / Gustavo Xavier) rounding out the top three in clas
Source. Creventic/Photo. Petr Frýba