After a last-minute date change due to shipping delays caused by conflict in the Red Sea, the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai has finally gotten underway with a dramatic start to the action. Asian Motorsport reviews the first five hours of the race, direct from the paddock.

By Nida Anis

The Saintéloc Junior Team Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II #18 took pole for this year’s 24H Dubai, with the French outfit topping two of the three 15-minute GT3 qualifying sessions.

Despite only managing one lap in Q3 before stopping, the team’s average lap time of 01:59.807 put themselves ahead of Leipert Motorsport’s Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 #63.

Several cars were moved to the back of the grid after qualifying. The SRS Team Sorg Rennsport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS #227, already in last place overall, received a penalty for handing a USB stick in for investigation with nothing on it.

The team’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup #927, competing in the 992 / AM class, was also sent to the back of the grid, with fellow 992 / AM entry KKrämer Racing #936 joining them.

Leipert Motorsport fails to start as GetSpeed takes the lead in opening laps

Leipert Motorsport suffered from a fuel tank issue prior to the race which prevented them from joining the grid. Despite their best efforts, the team was unable to start the race from the pit lane, leading them to become the first casualty of the 2024 24H Dubai.

The start of the race saw Fabian Schiller take the lead in his GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO #9 from what was effectively second on the grid, with the absence of Leipert Motorsport.

Matthieu Detry, piloting the HAAS RT’s Audi R8 #21, also overtook the Saintéloc Junior Team for second place, with the Proton Huber Competition Porsche 911 GT3 R #83 demoting the French team to fourth a few laps later.

Door issues for Racing One, Code 60s for Mühlner Motorsport and CWS Engineering

After Racing One driver Thierry Vermeulen made up a position at the start of the 24H Dubai in his Ferrari 296 GT3 #6, Marco Pulcini found himself unable to enter during a driver change seventy minutes into the race. With the team unable to pry the door open with crowbars, Vermeulen was forced to continue in the car for a second stint.

These issues appeared to be resolved by fourth hour of running, with German driver Stefan Aust piloting the car at the time of writing.

Just under ten minutes later, the Mühlner Motorsport #921, piloted by Gilles Vannelet, slowed to a stop on the back straight. With the car unable to restart, the race was placed under a Code 60 to recover it. Green flag conditions resumed eleven minutes later, and the #921 would ultimately rejoin the race two hours behind its closest competitor.

After only five minutes of green flag running, #927 driver Stefan Beyer’s nose-first crash into the Armco barriers at Turn 9 brought out another Code 60. With the chassis shell compromised, the SRS Team Sport Rennsport car was unable to continue in the 24H Dubai. Green flag running resumed after seventy minutes, with the #83 in the lead.

The race continued without incident for one hour and forty minutes, before another Code 60 was called for a stationary car on the inside of the exit of Turn 11. The CWS Engineering Ginetta G55, driven by Christian Broberg, was towed back to the pit lane by a recovery vehicle.

An eventful start to an exciting race

With over one hour and 29 minutes of Code 60 conditions in just five hours of running, it’s clear to see that this year’s Hankook 24H Dubai is shaping up to be an eventful and drama-filled race.

The race is broadcast live on the official 24H Series YouTube channel, with live timing also available from GetRaceResults.com.

Header photo credit: 24H Dubai

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