Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO racer Finlay Hutchison made a highly competitive start to his 2022 motorsport season in the Middle East over the weekend, with a strong and very impressive seventh place finish in the Hankook Dubai 24H.
Teaming with Florian Scholze, Luca Engstler, Alex Aka and Nicolas Scholl at German squad Attempto Racing, the Dundee driver performed well in his various stints during the 24-hour contest at Dubai Autodrome to get the new year of international GT racing underway very fruitfully.
After qualifying 10th fastest in the headline GT3 class on Thursday, 13th January, around the 5.4-kilometre United Arab Emirates track, the Attempto squad began the race on Friday, 14th January, with confidence high.
Running in the lead group of contenders throughout, showcasing great speed and reliability from the No.99 Audi R8, the car was bullet proof all the way to the finish. In terms of competitiveness, a best lap of 2m00.622 seconds (160.87 km/h) was just 0.4 seconds shy of podium performance.
“Our pace was strong all the way throughout the race, we did quite a good job overall and I’m happy with the way we’ve started our racing year – especially in such a challenging event”, said Scottish racer Hutchison, “OK, we weren’t on the podium, which is what we all wanted to achieve, but we were fast and on it right from lights-out to the chequered flag.
“The Attempto guys did a fantastic job, the Audi R8 is always very reliable and goes the distance in big endurance races – it’s one of the strongest features of the car. It’s been a positive start to 2022 and now we’re all looking forward to the start of the ALMS [Asian Le Mans Series] next month with the EVO II version of the Audi.”
Scholl began the race for Attempto at 15.00 local time on Friday and moved up into the top eight early on before handing over the Audi to Hutchison for his first running, roughly two hours into the contest. Running as high as fifth, the Dundee driver lapped very consistently and ensured hopes of a podium challenge remained on course.
Scholze, Engstler and Aka all completed their first stints successfully and Hutchison then returned to the action just after midnight local time, running eighth in GT3. With all of the pit-stops going well, and the Attempto Audi continuing to deliver strong pace, through the various driver cycles the squad stayed well inside the top 10 before finishing the race at 15.00 on Saturday 15th January, in seventh position.
Preparing to celebrate his 22nd birthday this week, Hutchison’s focus will then turn to the start of his next challenge, the Asian Le Mans Series, which begins with the opening two rounds of the four-race championship on Saturday, 12th February, and Sunday, 13th February, at Dubai Autodrome.
Teaming-up again with Alex Aka at Attempto Racing, plus a yet-to-be-confirmed third driver, the trio will pilot the new generation Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II. Rounds three and four of the ALMS will follow one week later, on 19th/20th February, at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi.
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Gruppe C