After a dramatic start, the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai has continued delivering twists and turns, with shock retirements, multiple Code 60s, and rain – yes, rain! – at the Dubai Autodrome Circuit.

Asian Motorsport reviews the action, direct from the Dubai Autodrome paddock.

By Nida Anis

In a shocking twist to the 24H Dubai, Sainteloc Junior Team’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II #18 retired due to a mechanical issue four hours into the race.

The car had suffered from a “problem with the steering” in qualifying, according to driver Pierre Kaffer, and this issue had apparently resurfaced during the race.

An Instagram post published shortly after the car’s retirement by teammate Elia Erhart said, “We are out… Unfortunately, yesterday’s problem has reappeared.”

Kaffer described it as an “unusual mechanical issue”, which is sure to be heartbreaking to the French team after the car’s strong performance on Friday.

Other retirees in the early stages of the 24H Dubai included the Grove Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO #10 and the Dragon Racing #88, whose Ferrari 296 GT3 suffered from an alternator issue 160 laps into their campaign.  

Another Code 60 triggered by Mühlner Motorsport

The fifth Code 60 of the 24H Dubai was deployed with 16 hours and 49 minutes on the clock to recover Mühlner Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup #921, which had stopped at the exit of Turn 7.

The car had suffered from on and off technical issues and had previously caused a Code 60 earlier in the race after stopping on the back straight.

It only took eight minutes for green flag conditions to resume, with Dubai Autodrome’s recovery vehicles swiftly picking up the stricken Porsche.

The Mühlner Motorsport team was eventually able to return their car back to running.

Second-placed Herberth Motorsport caught out by slippery track

It didn’t take long before the race returned to Code 60 conditions, due to an incident involving the Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R #91. Whilst running in second place and fighting for the lead, it shunted in the tyre wall at Turn 1.

Although driver and team owner Robert Renauer was able to reverse his car and return it to the pits, the race remained under Code 60 to clean up fluid that had been spilt on that part of the track.

Renauer wasn’t the only driver caught out by the slippery conditions, as the Red Camel-Jordans.nl Porsche 911 GT3 Cup #909 had spun at that part of the circuit just minutes before the Code 60 was deployed.

Green flag conditions resumed over 20 minutes after the incident. However, the Herberth Motorsport Porsche would ultimately retire from the race.

Leading pack settles in on-and-off night running

With the Herberth Motorsport #91 eliminated from contention, the leading pack appeared to settle as the race ran through the night. Austrian outfit Eastalent Racing Team’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II #54 led the pack, ahead of GetSpeed’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO #9 and fellow Audi entrant Attempto Racing’s #99.

The next casualty of the 24H Dubai was the 7TSIX McLaren 720S GT3 #76, which came to a stop on the main straight just over four hours into overnight running. Although the car was towed back to the pits under Code 60 conditions, it wouldn’t continue any further.

An Instagram post on the 7TSIX page stated that the car suffered from “an issue with the gearbox”, which was “not something we could get repaired”.

Racing after dark turned out to be a stop-start affair, with another Code 60 issued to recover the CWS Engineering Ginetta G55 #278.

The Ginetta, driven by Owen Hizzey, was running in third in the TCE class and leading the TCX cars within that field when it abruptly stopped on track.

Despite this, the CWS Engineering team were able to return the car back to running.

The final Code 60 of the night was deployed to recover the Century Motorsport #429 | Credit: 24H Dubai

With 12 hours left on the clock, the final Code 60 of the night was deployed to recover the Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 #429 on a flatbed truck. An Instagram post by the team stated that the car was “forced to retire” due to “damage sustained in an on track incident”.

The rest of the night’s running continued without any further stoppages, with the top three – #54, #83, and #99 – remaining in their positions as the sun rose above the Dubai Autodrome Circuit.

Sudden rain makes for a dramatic morning

With over five hours remaining in the race, the Vortex V8 Vortex 2.0 #701 spun after contact with another car. Despite the incident, French driver Lionel Amarouche continued his stint and did not pull his GTX car into the pits.  

An otherwise incident-free morning was curtailed after rain – yes, rain! – started falling on the circuit at Turns 5 and 6 with four hours left on the clock. The race was immediately placed under Code 60 conditions as multiple cars went off on track and into the barriers.

These included the #908 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of SebLajoux Racing by DUWO Racing, running in the 992 / AM class, and the AGMC Racing Team by Simpson Motorsport’s #438 BMW M4 GT4 entry, running in the GT4 class.

Sudden rain at Dubai Autodrome caught several competitors out, with some cars not having wet tyres ready to switch to | Credit: 24H Dubai

The uncharacteristic weather for the Dubai desert caught several competitors out, not least because some cars didn’t have wet tyres mounted on rims to switch to in the event of rain.

Speaking on the live broadcast, Century Motorsport team owner Nathan Freke said, “One car had wets mounted, the other didn’t. So, we scrambled down there, got first in the queue to Hankook, and of course, carnage ensued down there.

“We’ve got two sets of wets now, but I guess the organiser has thrown the Code 60 because I think a lot of teams don’t have wets mounted. So, it’s the right thing to do for sure.”

Green flag running resumes with three hours on the clock

After just under an hour of Code 60 conditions, green flag racing has resumed at the 24 Hours of Dubai. With less than three hours remaining in the race, stay tuned to Asian Motorsport to keep up with the latest updates.

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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