Having qualified 3rd overall earlier this afternoon, the Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo (#88, Antares Au / Chris Froggatt / John Loggie) initially dropped to 11th during a frenetic opening lap but was quick to recover and was soon back on the respective gearboxes of the GT frontrunners. Opting for a different pit strategy during the first of four Code 60 caution periods, a combination of fast but consistent lap times thereafter, plus its typically slick pitwork, allowed the German team to stretch its advantage and eventually take the chequered flag three laps clear of its nearest rival. The #88 Audi completed 140 laps of the 5.554km Yas Marina Circuit en-route.
Victory at the non-championship Hankook 6H ABU DHABI marks Car Collection Motorsport’s first outright win at a 24H SERIES event since the 2019 Hankook 24H DUBAI, and is just one week removed from the team’s GT3-AM podium finish at the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook season opener in Dubai.
One of four GT entries to lead a lap outright at the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI, the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#710, Gerhard Watzinger / Gregg Gorski / Fidel Leib) finished a strong 2nd overall after a scintillating battle with the PROFILDOORS by Huber Racing Porsche 991-II Cup (#924, Gabriele Rindone / Matthias Hoffsümmer / Manuel Lauck). The former came into the event off the back of a GTX class win at the Hankook 24H DUBAI, while the latter secures its first podium finish at a 24H SERIES event.
Early on, the fight for GT victory also featured both the Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo (#99, Alex Aka / Finlay Hutchison / Markus Winkelhock) and the Inception Racing by Optimum McLaren 720S GT3 (#72, Brendan Iribe / Ollie Millroy), the latter of which secured outright pole position earlier this afternoon. Sadly, fuel connector issues cost the McLaren more than two hours in the garage, while Attempto Racing suffered engine failure shortly after half-distance.
In the TG division, drama unfolded inside the final hour when the Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR (#101, Ivo Breukers / Rik Breukers / Max Hanratty), which had pulled a full lap clear of its closest rival, ground to a halt on the exit of turn 20 at Yas Marina with a component failure behind the left front wheel. Unable to repair the damage before the chequered flag, the CUPRA was eventually classified 6th of the TG runners, and 9th overall.
That left the door open for the ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 (#438, Samantha Tan / Jon Miller), with which Red Camel-Jordans.nl had battled throughout the afternoon, to take the TG division win and finish 4th overall. As it did at the season opening Hankook 24H DUBAI, the Canadian team secured class pole position in qualifying and was the clear pacesetter in TG, only to lose time during the pit stops. An error-free run nevertheless allowed ST Racing to claim its second 24H SERIES class win in as many weekends.
The first of two CUPRA DSG entries for long-time 24H SERIES competitor Sally Racing CUPRA DSG (#218, Peter Obel / Mikkel Obel / Martin Sally Pedersen) enjoyed a strong run en-route to 2nd in the TG division. Though forced to make two more pit stops than the Danish CUPRA, this year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI TCX winner – the PK Carsport BMW M2 CS Racing (#208, Bert Longin / Peter Guelinckx / Stienes Longin) – drove a superb race to round out the TG podium and finish 6th on the road.
A puncture early on ended up costing the first of two CWS Engineering Ginetta G55s dearly (#278, Colin White / Jean-Francois Brunot), though the British squad recovered well to finish 7th overall ahead of the second Sally Racing CUPRA (#215, Morten Eriksen / Bjarne Haa / Jesper Sally). Having been in contention for a TG division podium, the second CWS Engineering Ginetta G55 (#280, Michael Tischner / Simon Orange / Colin White) was sadly felled with steering problems, but did manage to get going again to round out the top 10.
Coolant problems ended up costing the Zengő Motorsport CUPRA TCR DSG (#133, Csaba Tóth / Zoltán Zengő) almost an hour in the pits early on, though the Hungarian team did manage to bring the CUPRA home in 11th place. The Simpson Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS DSG meanwhile (#138, Sacha Kakad / Ricky Coomber / Jonathan Mullan) ended up a classified 13th after losing a great deal of time in the pits to a fuel irregularity.
A superb, competitive showing by all 14 entrants for CREVENTIC’s second visit to the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has demonstrated the potential of future 24H SERIES powered by Hankook events that could be held at one of the most prestigious Grand Prix venues worldwide.
With both the 16th annual Hankook 24H DUBAI and the non-championship Hankook 6H ABU DHABI in the bag, focus now turns to our first European round of the season – the Hankook 12H MUGELLO – on 26-27 March at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello. One month later, competitors will travel to the vaunted Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for the annual Hankook 12H SPA on 23-24-25 April. Further information can be found at 24hseries.com.