Dubai, UAE, 9 January 2020: German driver Maro Engel, a former winner of the FIA GT World Cup, hadn’t raced at Dubai Autodrome since 2017 but that didn’t prevent him from claiming the outright pole position for this week’s 15th running of the Hankook 24H DUBAI.
A lap time of 1m57.490s on the 5.39-kilometre Grand Prix Circuit at Dubai Autodrome was enough for Engel to secure pole position with the Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#777, Maro Engel / Luca Stolz / Philip Ellis / Patrick Assenheimer / Martin Konrad). It was also the first pole position for Mercedes-AMG in the Hankook 24H DUBAI since 2017.
“I really owe this one to the team, the guys have done an unbelievable job in repairing the car after an accident in testing yesterday. I think they were working until four in the morning, so it is nice to be able to give something back to them,” Maro Engel said after qualifying.
In a clean sweep of the front row for the Mercedes-AMG GT3, Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen qualified the Black Falcon car (#4, Khaled Al Qubaisi / Hubert Haupt / Ben Barker / Manuel Metzger / Jeroen Bleekemolen) second on the grid, only 0.047 seconds down.
Third fastest in qualifying was Porsche works driver Sven Müller in the Herberth Motorsport-Porsche 911 GT3 R (#91, Sven Müller / Ralf Bohn / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer).
Repeating his team’s qualifying success from last year at the same venue, Colin White unleashed the full potential of his CWS Engineering Ginetta G55 (#278, Colin White / Bradley Scorer / Jean-François Brunot / Fraser Robertson / Adam Hatfield) to put the car on TCE division pole position for the 15th running of the Hankook 24H DUBAI.
White’s time of 2m08.531s around the 5.39-kilometre Grand Prix Circuit at Dubai Autodrome meant an improvement of over half a second compared to last year’s pole-winning time at Dubai. With the fastest time in the TCE division, the CWS Ginetta also topped the time sheets in the TCX class.
“I was able to benefit from a good slipstream from a TCR car. My fastest lap ever around Dubai Autodrome, I am really pleased with that,” Colin White reported to Radiolemans.com’s Johnny Palmer. Rain has been forecast for the race, but White isn’t particularly worried by that, as he quickly pointed out: ‘We all like the wet, we are from England, you know!’”
The full 24-hour race roars into action at 15.00 on Friday (10 January) with 70 GT and Touring Car Class race cars expected to line up on the start grid.
Report: Creventic (edited)
Photos: Aaron Meriwether, Arthur Rosales & Creventic