AF Corse have claimed victory as the two part Gulf 12 Hours reached the half time break in the lead at Yas Marina.
Thanks to effective pit stops under multiple safety car periods the Ferrari 458 GT3 racing squad held a lead of 53.9 seconds over Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon.
The Mercedes team of Bernd Schneider, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Khaled Al Qubaisi couldn’t respond quickly enough when a safety car was called for the #95 Avelon Formula Wolf CN prototype which had hit the wall coming out of turn 21 meaning they were always on the back foot.
One team that got it very right – and on their race debut – was M-Sport Bentley. The team of Guy Smith, Steven Kane and Andy Meyrick made good use of the Bentley’s V8 power when competing with the Kessel Racing Ferrari and Gulf Racing McLaren.
Finishing the first half of the Gulf 12 Hours in third place, Bentley Director of Motorsport Brian Gush stated: “Six hours in and we’re very pleased with the result so far. Finishing the first half of the race in third position is testament to the hard work of the team and we’re now focussed on getting the car ready for the night race, which holds a totally different set of challenges as the track temperature drops.”
In the GTX class aka GT4, there was an initially strong battle between the #90 and #91 Ginetta G50s with plenty of panel bashing ultimately leading to the #90 having to make an extended pit stop. Eventually the #91 finished the first half in first place, just ahead of local team Yas Marina Circuit Aston Martin.
In all of this action, there were a few retirements – the BF Motorsport machine in the CN class had to retire as well as the Dragon Racing McLaren in GT3, the latter of which was due to a blown gearbox.