Published on January 16th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Dubai 24 Hours GT Endurance Race, Audi Wins It!
Audi Motorsports started 2016 with a win from Team WRT led by Laurens Vanthoor, Stuart Leonard, Michael Meadows and Alain Ferte taking victory in the Dubai 24 Hours.
The Audi quartet had to fight back from one lap down, after losing three minutes queuing for fuel in hour two, but their task was made easier as rivals suffered mechanical problems and were involved in incidents in traffic.
Despite being unable to match the one-lap pace of the new R8 LMS, Scuderia Praha’s Ferrari 458 was firmly in contention for victory when Matteo Cressoni collided with a slower Ginetta in hour 10.
The driver of the Ginetta, Thomas Martinsson was attended to by medical teams during a lengthy Code 60 stoppage.
Once racing resumed, the Land Motorsport Audi driven by Connor de Philippi, Christopher Mies, Marc Basseng and Carsten Tilke managed to build a lead of almost a full lap over the WRT Audi, when de Philippi ran out of fuel, losing several laps while the car was recovered to the pits.
Audi factory drivers Mies and Basseng propelled the car back to second during the early hours of the morning, but a worsening gearbox problem forced its retirement with just two hours remaining.
Team Abu Dhabi Racing Black Falcon were forced to retire their AMG GT3 following a contact by a slower car on lap 119.
Led by Khaled Al Qubaisi, the team comprises of Flying Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen, FIA GT Cup World Champion Maro Engel (Germany), the experienced Hubert Haupt, also of Germany, and Dutch Indy Dontje, a new addition to the team.
Dutchman Bleekemolen opened the campaign for the Abu Dhabi outfit behind the wheel of the all-new Mercedes AMG GT3 from fifth on the grid in class, steadily improving upon his lap times from an opening best of 2:04.210 to a personal best of 2:00.328 as the opening two hours progressed.
The team was second and in a position to start a battle for the lead when the contact took place, damaging the front left suspension, which required the team to pit despite having the pace.