Swiss team Stadler Motorsport has won the ninth running of the Dunlop 24H Dubai with its Porsche 997 GT3 R. After 603 laps at the Dubai Autodrome, equalling a total distance of 3,250.17 kilometres, Swiss Rolf Ineichen drove the winning car with starting number 20 across the finish line to take the chequered flag. Ineichen shared driving duties with his compatriots Mark Ineichen, Marcel Matter and Adrian Amstutz, as well as German Christian Engelhart.
“For us, the event started off with some troubles in practice, but the race was perfect. The car ran like clockwork, there isn’t even a single scratch on it, all the team members have done a fantastic job. We are really proud of this success,” Ineichen said. This is the first-ever race win in the Dunlop 24H DUBAI for a Swiss team and the fourth victory for Porsche after earlier race wins in 2008, 2009 and 2010, making the brand from Stuttgart the manufacturer with the most overall wins in history of the race. Two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 cars finished second and third.
The ALLINKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team ended up second with drivers René Münnich, Rob Huff and Marc Basseng in the gullwing sportscar with starting number 38 while the Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon was classified third with its number 2 car, driven by Khaled Al Qubaisi, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Abdulaziz Turki Al Faisal, Hubert Haupt and Adam Christodoulou.
In true endurance racing style, the event provided plenty of bigger and smaller dramas, incidents and accidents. Several of the teams that shone at some stages in the first two thirds of the race dropped back due to various technical issues. Among them was the winning team from the past two years, the Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 (Khaled Al Qubaisi/Jeroen Bleekemolen/Bernd Schneider/Andreas Simonsen) that lost some 30 minutes just before midnight due to problems with the electronics and then retired altogether due to several technical problems on Saturday morning. Other erstwhile leaders to lose time were the Ram Racing outfit with the Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 (#30, Johnny Mowlem/Matt Griffin/Cheerag Araya/Jan Magnussen) following a collision and subsequent damage that took the best part of one hour to repair, the SX Team Schubert BMW Z4 GT3 (#76, Paul Dalla Lana/Bill Auberlen/Dane Cameron/Dirk Werner/Claudia Hürtgen) that also lost time in repairing suspension damage after a collision and a subsequent puncture and the FACH AUTO TECH Porsche (#4, Otto Klohs/Martin Ragginger/Sebastian Asch/Connor de Philippi) that led for a long time during the night but dropped back following gearbox problems.
That handed the lead to the Stadler Porsche, followed by the ALLINKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and the similar car from the Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon. The latter lost some time due to a spin in the closing stages of the race. That meant the ALLINKL.COM Münnich Motorsport entry, including the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff and the 2012 FIA GT1 World Champion Marc Basseng, came second, followed by the Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon car.
The A6-Amateur class was the only class that had the first and second placed team on the lead lap at the finish. Nearly all teams having had some issues; the Dragon Racing team’s Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 (#888, Jordan Grogor/Khaled Al Mudhaf/Mohammed Jawa/Frédéric Fatien) finished first in class, followed by the rhino’s Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 (#10, Oliver Webb/Isaac Tutumlu Lopez/Jan Stovicek/Yoshiharu Mori/Jeroen Mul).
The FORCH RACING by Lukas Motorsport Porsche 997 Cup (#42, Robert Lukas/Christofer Berckhan Ramirez/Andrzej Lewandowski/Stefan Bilinski) claimed top spot in the Porsche Cup class. In the SP3 class, British team Speedworks Motorsport claimed victory with its Ginetta G50 (#164, Tony Hughes/Christian Dick/Ross Warburton/Will Scully) while the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN did a great job by scoring first place in SP2 with its Nissan 370Z (#123, Lucas Ordonez/Miguel Fasica/Florian Strauss/Stanislav Aksenov/Nickolas McMillen).
In the biggest touring car class, the A5 category, Dutch team JR Motorsport had a trouble-free run throughout the race and repeated its class win from the previous year with the BMW E46 GTR (#62, Harry Hilders/Roger Grouwels/Gijs Bessem/Koen Bogaerts/Dziugas Tovilavicius). The Dutch Racing Divas also scored their second consecutive class win in the Dunlop 24H DUBAI by ending up first in the A3T class with the Schubert Motorsport-run BMW 320D (#90, Natasja Smit-Sø/Gaby Uljee/Sandra van der Sloot/Paulien Zwart/Shirley van der Lof).
The A2 class brought victory for Danish team AD Racing/K-Rejser with their Renault Clio Sport (#106, Jan Engelbrecht/Martin Clausen/Jacob Kristensen/Jan Seerup) – driver Jacob Kristensen indeed being the younger brother of nine times’ Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen. And last but not least, Belgian Recy Racing Team won the D1 diesel class with its BMW 120D (#125, Jan De Vocht/Johan Van Loo/Steffen Schlichenmeier/Wim Meulders/Thomas Piessens), having been in the lead of its class for most of the race.
In total, there were 27 lead changes with ten different cars taking turns in the lead. There were ten neutralisations (code 60) with a total duration of 3.07.25 hrs.
2014 in numbers:
• 603 laps completed
• 3250 km travelled by the winning team
• 5.390km length track
• 1:59.537 – the 2014 fastest lap of the set by Nicky Pastorelli in a Corvette
• 77 cars
• 15 nations fielding teams
• 37 different nationality drivers
• 26 different car makes and models
• 9 classes