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 2m08.531saround the 5.390km long circuit 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 fastest TCR driver was 21-year-old Swede Oliver Söderström, who came out on top of his class courtesy of a lap time of 2m09.614s with the fastest of the two Lestrup Racing Team Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR (#111, Hannes Morin / Martin Öhlin / Oliver Söderström / Marcus Fluch). “I had a really clean lap. I got a little help with a tow from an Audi, that helped me to secure pole position,” Söderström commented.
The Lestrup Racing Team Volkswagen will be starting alongside the CWS Ginetta from the front row of the TCE division grid. Next up in the TCR class are the BBR Cupra (#107, Kantadhee Kusiri / Kantasak Kusiri / Anusorn Asiralertsiri / Munkong Sathienthirakul / Chariya Nuya), second in class and third overall, and the fastest of the two Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Volkswagen Golfs (#112, Alberto Vescovi / Roberto Ferri / Miklas Born / Constantin Kletzer / Yannick Mettler). For the Swiss team, TCE race winners at Dubai last year, the slot on the second row of the TCE grid was a nice reward for the huge effort to repair the car after damage incurred in testing on Wednesday.
The TOPCAR Sport with Bas Koeten Racing Cupra (#131, Fabian Danz / Antti Buri / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Ronny Jost) qualified fourth in TCR and fifth overall in the TCE division. With the AC Motorsport Audi (#188, Stéphane Perrin / Vincent Radermecker / Tom Boonen / Gilles Magnus / Matthew Taskinen), TCR pole sitters at Dubai in the past two years, fifth in class and the KCMG Honda Civic (122, Paul Ip / Jim Ka To / Andy Yan / Kenneth Ma / Henry Lee Jr.) sixth, cars from four different brands made it into the top six of the TCR class.
Behind the overall pole-winning CWS Ginetta, also fastest in the TCX class, the second car from the TCX class was the Nordschleife Racing Ligier JS2 R (#226, Guillaume Roman / Thierry Blaise / François Riaux / Michel Sallenbach) in twelfth overall. Rounding out the top 3 in the TCX class was the Team ACP – Tangerine Associates BMW M240i Racing Cup (#321, Catesby Jones / Ken Goldberg / Damon Daniueli / Dr Jim Norman).
Fastest in the TC class was the Nordschleife Racing Peugeot 308 Racing Cup car (#172, Thierry Boyer / Philippe Baffoun / Thierry Chkondali / Bruno Derossi / Rhys Lloyd). Lloyd, the only British driver in an otherwise all-French line-up, put in a fast lap time early in the session that remained unbeaten in the remainder of TCE qualifying. The team ended up eight tenth of a second faster than the Sorg Rennsport BMW M240i Racing Cup (#351, Skip Woody / Johan Schwartz / Benito Tagle / Mark Brummond) while the fun-M Motorsport BMW M240i Racing Cup (#302, Vincent Piemonte / Oscar Jackson / Recep Sari / Eric Zimmermann / Gustavo Xavier) rounding out the top three in class.
Warm-up is held on Friday, 10 January, from 10.30-11.00 hrs. Pre-race activities get underway at 14.00 hrs, the race starts at 15.00 hrs. Activities can be followed on the series’ website www.24hseries.com with live timing and streaming with commentary from the Radio Show Limited team, well-known from IMSA Radio and Radio Le Mans. The stream is also available on the series’ YouTube channel and Facebook page as well as motortrend on Demand. Regular updates are also available on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Further information can be found at: www.24hseries.com.