On the weekend that the 2017 Dakar rally ended the Endurance season got underway for sportscars as the Herberth Motorsport squad took victory in the 2017 Hankook 24H Dubai with their Porsche 911 GT3 R,
Daniel Allemann, Ralf Bohn, Robert Renauer, Alfred Renauer and Porsche factory driver Brendon Hartley recorded a total of 578 laps over the 24 hours and along with fellow Porsche cusotomer team Manthey led more than three quarters of the race which marked the fifth win by a Porsche having tasted victory in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2014.
Hartley who was making his GT debut was exstatic with the win, “It was an awesome experience! My first race with a GT car, my first race in a 911, and my first victory in a 24-hour race. A great car, great team-mates and a great performance,” Hartley commented.
Manthey were unlucky after a colision in the early hours of the morning meant some repairs on the front left side was required.
Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 team were in contention with their two cars early in the race until local driver Khaled Al Qubaisi spun and collected the #963 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini (Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart, Rik Breukers, Rolf Ineichen, and Mark Ineichen); The incident caused the team to retire from the race.
There was early drama for the #7 Lamborghini of Herbert Handlos, Norbert Siedler, Sam Tordoff, Florian Spengler and Andrea Amici when a burst tyre damaged the fuel line which led to a fire resulting in an early retirement. Ex-Formula 1 and WRC driver Robert Kubica had problems on his first ever 24 hour race when the #29 Forch Racing powered by Olimp car was forced to retire with technical issues.
Reigning 24H series teams’ champions Hofor Racing took victory in the A6-Am class on their first competitive outing in their new Mercedes-AMG with Michael Kroll, Chantal Kroll, Roland Eggimann, Kenneth Heyer, and Christiaan Frankenhout. GP Extreme took second in class with its Renault RS01 FGT3 driven by Frédéric Fatien, Tiziano Carugati, Nicky Pastorelli, and Stuart Hall; followed home by Car Collection Motorsport’s Audi R8 LMS.
In the SPX class it was a Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo 1-2 with victory for GDL Racing Middle East with their drivers Franck Pelle, Rory Penttinen, Vic Rice, and Pierre Ehret. Leipert Motorsport with Oliver Webb, Jake Rattenbury, Jean-Charles Perrin, and Harald Schlotter took an impressive second place finish after they started from the back of the grid due to a chassis change following an incident in practice. Fach Auto Tech Porsche rounded out the podium.
The Porsche 991 Cup class saw the Black Falcon Team TMD Friction take victory ahead of Prosport Performance and race:pro motorsport. Elsewhere in the SP2 class Bovi Motorsport Brokernet Silversting finished top of the podium ahead of Reiter Engineering KTM X-BPW and the VDS Racing Adventures MARC Focus V8.
Ginetta took a dominant 1-2 victory in the SP3-GT4 class with the Optimum Motorsport car of Stewart Linn, Ade Barwick, Dan O’Brien, and William More finshing ahead of Century Motorsport‘s Nathan Freke, Aiden Moffat, Jack Mitchell, and Ben Green. The GDL Racing Team Asia Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR took the final podium position.
The TCR category saw a debut victory for the Audi LMS with the Cadspeed Racing with Atech entry ahead of Modena Motorsport‘s SEAT Leon TCR and the Zest Racecar Engineering SEAT. In the A3 touring class honours went to Team Altran Peugeot in their #308 Peugeot 208 GTi ahead of the sister #908 car and the PB Racing Lotus Elise Cup.
Sorg Rennsport scored a 1-2 in the CUP1 class with its BMW M235i Racing Cup Cars finishing ahead of the Bonk Motorsport entry. Danish Team Eva Solo/K-Rejser won the A2 class with its Peugeot RCZ ahead of the Team Cooksport Renault Clio Cup IV squad and Team Sally Racing 1 Renault Clio Cup III.
The 24H series heads to Italy next for the Hankook 12H MUGELLO (17-18 March) with the next 24 hour race scheduled for the Hankook 24H SILVERSTONE (31 March-2 April) for the 24H TCE Series competitors.