German Audi customer team Car Collection Motorsport emerged victorious in the 14th running of the Dubai 24 Hours at the Dubai Autodrome this weekend.
The team’s #88 Audi R8 LMS GT3, of Dirk Parhofer, Christopher Haase, Frédéric Vervisch and Rik Breukers racked up a total of 607 laps over the course of the race, to take a dominant victory, a lap ahead of the chasing pack.
“What a race! I am so happy for the team, for Audi and myself! I drove for nine and a half hours. It was tough, but this win is a great reward,” said 20-year old Dutchman Rik Breukers, who drove the Audi across the finish line.
The Car Collection Audi took the lead for the first time in the opening hour of the race, and went on to lead the field for most of the evening and night, the lead only changing occasionally due to varying pit strategies.
Black Falcon’s #3 Mercedes AMG GT3 put up a fight in the second half of the race, Luca Stolz, Khaled Al Qubaisi, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating and Manuel Mezger claiming the race lead into Saturday morning, before retiring with broken right-front suspension, handing the lead back to the eventual winners in the #88 R8 LMS in the 16th hour. From there, Car Collection would control the final third and cross the line to take the win.
The sister Black Falcon car, the #2 of Abdulaziz Al Fasal, Hubert Haupt, Yelmer Buurman, Saud Al Faisal and Adam Christodolou was also in the mix but lost time due to brake issues.
For Audi, the success marks the second win at Dubai after WRT won the race back in 2016. Under the MS7 by WRT banner, the Belgian outfit had a good run in 2019 too, finishing second with its #7 R8 LMS of Mohammed Saud Fahad Al Saud, Michael Vergers, Christopher Mies and Dries Vanthoor, making it a 1-2 for the German brand.
“Sincere congratulations to our customer teams Car Collection Motorsport and MS7 by WRT on this outstanding success in Dubai,” said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing.
“The 24-hour race with a total of 74 teams featured a strong field, so that makes us all the happier about the first endurance racing success of the latest evolution version of the Audi R8 LMS GT3 following its homologation – this one-two result is an impressive performance by the further development of our customer sport race car.”
The #11 Scuderia Praha Ferrari finished third, completing the podium, crossing the line four laps back from the winners.
The pole-winning GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini, finished just off the podium in fourth meanwhile, the #63 Huracan GT3 recovering well from suspension damage from a collision in the opening hour. The #99 Attempto and #9 BWT Mücke Motorsport R8s made it four Audis in the top six of the GT division and the A6-Pro class.
A6-AM honours meanwhile, went the way of HTP Motorsport, with its #25 Mercedes of Alexander Hrachowina, Martin Konrad, Bernd Schneider, Indy Dontje and Brice Bosi, which finished the race seventh overall and a lap ahead of pervious Dubai 24 winner Herberth Motorsport’s #91 Porsche. Adding to Car Collection Motorsport’s big weekend, its #34 Audi claimed third place in class.
The Leipert Motorsport team won the SPX category by finishing 14th overall with its with its #710 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo driven by Harald Schlotter, Jake Rattenbury, Marcus Påverud, Khaled Al Mudhaf and Frederik Schandorff.
Further down the order, the GT4 class was won by the MRS GT-Racing team with its #426 BMW M4 GT4 of Franjo Kovac, Tomas Pekar, Fredrik Lestrup and Thomas Tekaat.
In what was a dramatic finish, the #451 Sorg Rennsport BMW M4 GT4 inherited second place in class after the #454 QSR Racingschool Mercedes-AMG GT4 came to a halt on the circuit with only seven minutes remaining. The Belgian outfit still managed to finish third in class though.
In the TCE division, new team Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing’s #112 Golf GTI TCR with Marlon Menden, Fabian Danz, Yannick Mettler, Stefan Tanner and Jerôme Ogay behind the wheel took a convincing TCE division and TCR class win, four laps ahead of the #125 Bas Koeten Racing Cupra TCR. The #101 Red Camel-Jordans.nl Cupra TCR rounded out the top three.
TCR class pole winners AC Motorsport led for most of the race with its #188 Audi RS 3 LMS, but damage after a collision and a subsequent fire cost valuable time and the team came fifth as a result.
Photo courtesy of Audi Sport