Dutch driver Nicky Pastorelli made it clear that one doesn’t necessarily need the latest GT3 machinery to drive a quick lap around the 5.399 kilometres long Dubai Autodrome. With the V8 Racing Corvette C6-R (# 21, Wolf Nathan/Danny Werkman/Rick Abresch/Alex van ‘t Hoff/Nicky Pastorelli), he set a lap time of 1.57.282 minutes to claim pole position for the ninth running of the Dunlop 24H DUBAI.
“I expected that we could do something in the low 1.58 range, but I didn’t expect my lap time to be that fast. Everything was perfect: the car handled well, I had no traffic and made no mistakes. I am really happy,” Pastorelli said. His car, an ex-Corvette works car, was already built in 2006 and already scored a major endurance race win: it was the very machine that won the Spa 24 Hours back in 2009.
Dutch driver Jeroen Bleekemolen qualified the fastest of the Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon’s two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 cars in second place on the grid (#1, Khaled Al Qubaisi/Jeroen Bleekemolen/Bernd Schneider/Andreas Simonsen, 1:57.445 minutes). The FACH AUTO TECH Porsche (#4, Otto Klohs/Martin Ragginger/Sebastian Asch/Connor de Philippi, 1:57.660 minutes) qualified third in the hands of Martin Ragginger, while Jeroen Bleekemolen also drove the Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon’s other Mercedes-Benz (#2, Khaled Al Qubaisi/Jeroen Bleekemolen/Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal/Hubert Haupt/Adam Christodoulou, 1.58.235 minutes) to fourth place on the grid.
With six different brands in the first seven places, there was plenty of variety at the top of the leaderboard. The Dunlop 24H DUBAI starts tomorrow, Friday, January 10th, at 14.00 hrs local time (11.00 hrs CET). The action will be covered by Motors TV and Radio Show Limited, the team behind radiolemans.com. A live stream, live timing and results will also be available throughout the race at live.24hseries.com while regular updates will be provided on Twitter (@24HSERIES, #24HDUBAI) and Facebook (Facebook.com/24HSeries).
Russian driver Ivan Samarin ended up as the fastest qualifier in the Porsche Cup class with the Attempto Racing Porsche 997 Cup car (#33, Nikolay Gryazin/Alexey Vemerenko/Sergey Borisov/Ivan Samarin/Vasily Gryazin). Adding to the success for the Corvette on outright pole position, an American muscle car also emerged as the fastest entry in the SP2 class as Bert de Heus drove the Manor MP Motorsport Dodge Viper Competition Coupé (#12, Bert de Heus/Daniel de Jong/Leon Rijnbeek) to the fastest lap time in class. Lee Mowle drove the Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G50 (#152, Lee Mowle/Joe Osborne/Gary Simms/Jake Rattenbury) to first place on the grid in the SP3 class.
The touring car categories saw the JR Motorsport BMW E46 GTR (#62, Harry Hilders/Roger Grouwels/Gijs Bessem/Koen Bogaerts/Dziugas Tovilavicius) end up fastest in the A5 class, driven by Koen Bogaerts. Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing’s SEAT Leon Supercopa car (#89, Ramzi Moutran/Sami Moutran/Nabil Moutran/Phil Quaife) claimed pole position in the A3T class with Quaife behind the wheel. There was success for United Arab Emirates-based LAP 57 team, too, as Mohammed Al Owais set a last-gasp fastest lap time in the A2 class with the team’s Honda Coupé (#57, Mohammed Al Owais/Umair Khan/Abdullah Al Hammadi/Junichi Umemoto/Nadir Zuhour). Pole position in the D1 diesel class went to the Belgian Recy Racing Team with their BMW 120D (#125, Jan de Vocht/Johan van Loo/Steffen Schlichenmeier/Wim Meulders/Thomas Piessens) with Van Loo as the qualifying driver.
On Friday, January 10th, there is a warm-up session from 10.30 till 11.00 hrs while the race gets underway at 14.00 hrs and ends at the same time on Saturday, January 11th (all times local in the UAE, CET three hours earlier).