‘Team Kuwait’ on pole for inaugural Hankook 12H KUWAIT

Team Kuwait will start the first-ever Hankook 12H KUWAIT from pole position after a formidable qualifying scrap with Team GP-Elite.

Fittingly, the Team Kuwait by MRS GT-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (#47, Mohammad Al-Kazemi / Zaid Ashkanani / Ahmad Al Ghanem) was the pacesetter early on at its home event having set the fastest lap during official Free Practice and finished the opening 15-minute session just ahead of the Team GP-Elite Porsche 911 GT3 R (#32, Lucas Groeneveld / Jesse van Kuijk / Daan van Kuijk) in the first of three 15-minute qualifying sessions. Gamely, the latter was able to battle back and assume provisional pole during Q2.

A scintillating set of laps from Zaid Ashkanani in Q3, however – the quickest of which was a 1m 52.111s around the 5.608 km Kuwait Motor Town – was enough to push the #47 Porsche back to the top of the timesheets, barely four-tenths clear of its nearest rival. In doing so, Team Kuwait becomes the sixth different GT entrant in seven races to take outright pole position in 2022.

“The team did a great job!” Zaid Ashkanani explained to CREVENTIC. “At the beginning we had a few problems, but we made some changes and after that the car felt really good. I also managed to get a good gap in the beginning [of Q3], so I could put a clean lap in. And it’s a great feeling to get pole in your home town. It’s history, to be on pole for the series’ first time in Kuwait!

“Now we’ll just see what tomorrow brings. It’s a long race, and we want to avoid major mistakes, but it’s going to be fun.”

A stellar final lap from Team GP-Elite was still enough to secure the Dutch team a front row spot – and a front row lockout for Porsche – for tomorrow’s uninterrupted 12-hour race.

The CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis), which goes into this weekend at the head of the GT Continents Trophy standings, hauled itself into contention with a succession of fastest laps during Q2, securing 3rd on the grid in the process ahead of the razoon-more than racing KTM X-BOW GTX (#714, Dominik Olbert / Daniel Drexel / Haytham Qarajouli). Remarkably, the GTX polesitter ran consistently in the overall top four throughout the entirety of qualifying.

Having finished Q1 with the 8th fastest lap, the ARC Bratislava Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (#44, Miro Konopka / Matej Konopka / Zdeno Mikulasko) meticulously worked its way up the grid during the remainder of qualifying, and will start tomorrow’s race from 5th. In its first race with a brand-new 992-generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, former 991 Team’s champion Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#955, Fabrizio Broggi / Sergiu Nicolae / Sabino de Castro) lines up 6th overall after a sensationally close fight with GT Continents Trophy contender, Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#909, Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers / Rik Breukers). On aggregate across the three sessions, the pair were split by just over one-tenth of a second.

The first of the 992-AM runners – the Rabdan Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#979, Saif Alameri / Olivier Dons / Enrico Fernando Fulgenzi) – lines up 8th overall ahead of the first of three entries from HRT Performance (#929, Abdulla Ali Al Khelaifi / Abdullah Al-Abbasi / Ibrahim Al-Mannai / Kim André Hauschild). Two of the German team’s Porsche Cups have run in collaboration this week with the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation.

Behind class polesitter razoon-more than racing, Vortex V8 (#701, Philippe Bonnel / Lionel Amrouche / Nicolas Nobs) was the 2nd quickest of the GTX runners, while across in GT4, Century Motorsport’s two entries will start line-astern on the category’s front row. The British team’s Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 (#429, David Holloway / Adam Hatfield / Bradley Ellis / Piers Johnson) gapped the sister BMW M4 GT4 (#450, Daren Jorgensen / Brett Strom / Nathan Freke) on aggregate by just two-tenths of a second.

Lionspeed Racing meanwhile (#491, José Garcia / Daniel Miller Andreas Bakkerud / Patrick Kolb), which collaborates with former Overall GT Teams’ ‘Continents’ champion Herberth Motorsport for the Hankook 12H KUWAIT, will start 3rd in-class on its first 24H SERIES event with a new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS MR.

Newly-crowned TCR Teams’ European champion BBR (#159, Pasarit Promsombat / Tanart Sathienthirakul / Kantadhee Kusiri / Kantasak Kusiri / Anusorn Asiralertsiri) enjoyed a sensational run in qualifying to secure TCE pole position ahead of title rival AC Motorsport (#188, Stéphane Perrin / Mathieu Detry / James Kaye), the latter of which has entered the latest generation Audi RS 3 LMS for the event. Such was the pace of BBR’s CUPRA Leon Competición TCR – the fastest TCE lap was a 2m 00.449s, set by Kantasak Kusiri – the Thai team was the 10th fastest runner across all three 15-minute qualifying sessions.

After a steady start with its Audi RS 3 LMS in Q1, three-time Overall TCE Teams’ champion Wolf-Power Racing (#116, Jasmin Preisig / Ivars Vallers / Mohammad Al Sabah) recovered to 3rd on the TCE grid ahead of Hofor-Racing by Bonk Motorsport’s two BMWs. Michael Mayer, Martin Kroll, Michael Bonk, Rainer Partl and Hermann Bock will share driving duties across both TC entries, and the #331 BMW will start ahead of the sister, championship contending #332 M2 CS Racing.

The green flag for the inaugural Hankook 12H KUWAIT will be flown tomorrow, Friday 2 December at 12.00 hrs local time, and will run uninterrupted until the chequered flag is brought out at midnight. The action will be live with commentary from radiolemans.com on the official 24H SERIES YouTube channel. Regular updates will also be published on Twitter (@24HSeries), Facebook (24H Series) and Instagram (24H Series). Further information can be found at www.24hseries.com.