After the first six-hour segment of the Gulf 12 Hours, it is an Attempto Racing 1-2 at the head of the overall order at Yas Marina. The #66 Audi R8 of Dries Vanthoor, Christopher Mies and Rinat Salikhov leads the way, while the sister #55 entry of Nicolas Foster, Mattia Drudi and Murod Sultanov narrowly finished on the lead lap.
This means that going into the second part of the race, the two Attempto entries will effectively start neck and neck, and will have a lap’s advantage over the chasing pack.
This lead was largely cultivated at the three hours and twenty minute mark, when a spin for the #11 AF Corse Ferrari of Tani Hanna brought out the Safety Car. The #66 Audi – then running second to the #48 HTP Mercedes – had been brought into the pits just seconds before the incident, while the leading car stayed out for the duration of the pause.
This effectively granted the Attempto outfit a free pitstop, and an advantage of 95 seconds that only grew in the last two and a half hours of racing.
The pole-sitting #48 Mercedes would run second from that point on, until Dominik Baumann brought the HTP Motorsport entry into the pits with just under three minutes left on the clock. This was seemingly a splash and dash effort, which promptly put the team a lap down.
Seemingly, this stop was not enough, however, as the car came to a halt alongside the circuit’s famous hotel, ultimately dropping to fifth place. The team of Baumann, Maximilian Goetz and Al Zubair Al Faisal will have to make up a two-lap deficit to challenge for victory.
The last team on the ‘podium’ for this first part of the race was the #19 GPX Racing Porsche of Stuart Hall, Benji Goethe and Jordan Grogor. This team will start a lap down from the leading pair of Audis, as will the #83 Iron Lynx Ferrari of Michelle Gatting, Rahel Frey and Manuela Gostner, which will pick up the race in fourth.
Sixth place, and leading in PRO-AM, is the #46 Monster VR46 Kessel Ferrari. Valentino Rossi, alongside half-brother and Moto2 star Luca Marini, and friend Alessio Salucci, held a ten second advantage over the #7 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche at the end of the six hours. The third-place finisher in class was the #77 Barwell Lamborghini, which will start the next segment of the race a lap down.
In ‘GT3 G’, the effective AM category, SPS Automotive leads the class with its #10 Mercedes entered for Valentin Pierburg, Christian Hook and Manuel Lauck. The car that is currently second in class, the similar #84 AKKA ASP AMG GT3, is a lap further back.
GT4 looks set to be the hardest fought class in the second phase of the race, with the top four all on the lead lap. It was a Balfe Motorsport McLaren 1-2 after six hours, with the #22 car of Ollie Millroy, James Pickford, Brendan Iribe and Nick Moss in the lead. In a canny move from the Balfe outfit, the former two drivers – who are both Pro’s from McLaren’s stable – have not yet driven, and will be able to use all of their drive time in the second part of the race.
The same strategy has also been deployed for the #21 meaning Euan Hankey and Josh Cook will do the lion’s share of the driving this evening.
Third in class is the #90 SVC Sport Management Mercedes, despite a spin for Michele Camarlinghi in the last hour. The last car on the lead lap in class is the #44 David Appleby Engineering Aston Martin of Steve Tandy, James Holder and Matthew George.
ARC Bratislava hold a two-lap advantage over United Autosports in the sparsely populated LMP3 class, with the #4 Ginetta running 18th overall after the first part of the race.
The second half of the race will begin at 17:30 local time.
Featured image courtesy of Gulf 12 Hours