DUBAI (9 January 2020) – 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.
Maro Engel und Toksport-WRT sichern Mercedes-AMG erste Pole-Position bei den Hankook 24H DUBAI seit 2017
Maro Engel et Toksport WRT offrent une première pole depuis 2017 à Mercedes-AMG aux 24H DUBAI
Maro Engel en Toksport WRT bezorgen Mercedes-AMG eerste pole bij Hankook 24H DUBAI sinds 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.
Warm-up is held on Friday, 10 January, from 10.30-11.00 hrs. Pre-race activities get underway at 14.00 hrs, the race starts at 15.00 hrs. Activities can be followed on the series’ website www.24hseries.com with live timing and streaming with commentary from the Radio Show Limited team, well-known from IMSA Radio and Radio Le Mans. The stream is also available on the series’ YouTube channel and Facebook page as well as motortrend on Demand. Regular updates are also available on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Further information can be found at: www.creventic.com