Pure Rxcing has taken its maiden pole position in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook after a commanding qualifying performance for the 2023 Hankook 6H ABU DHABI.
The Pure Rxcing Porsche 911 GT3 R (#911, Aliaksandr Malykhin / Joel Sturm / Harry King), a frontrunner during the early stages of last week’s Hankook 24H DUBAI, took that momentum into CREVENTIC’s third event at the Yas Marina Circuit this weekend, setting the bar high in the opening 15-minute session with a 1m 55.650s courtesy of Aliaksandr Malykhin. Similarly rapid laps from Joel Sturm and Harry King meant there was little to stop the Lithuanian-entered Porsche from securing the top spot on the grid with a 1m 55.224s average across all three sessions.
A close fight for the final front row spot eventually went to series newcomer HAAS RT (#21, Stéphane Perrin / Mathieu Detry / Maxime Soulet), Mathieu Detry vaulting the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II above a similarly impressive performance from the ARC Bratislava Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (#44, Miro Konopka / Andrzej Lewandowski) with the fastest lap of any session – a 1m 54.492s – during Q2.
Leaving it late, the ARC Bratislava posted the second fastest laptime of Q2, but, having opted to skip Q3 altogether with only two drivers confirmed for this weekend, the Slovakian team eventually slipped to 22nd on the grid. The JR Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 (#12, Ted van Vliet / Max Weering), which finished 2nd overall at last year’s event, thus ended qualifying as the third fastest runner.
The Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II of reigning European GT Trophy winner Phoenix Racing (#1, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Swen Herberger) will line up 4th on the grid ahead of the first of the 992 runners, HRT Performance (#930, Antti Buri / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen). In an impressively close finish, the #930 Porsche 992 GT3 Cup secured 992 pole position by just 0.021s over Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#909, Ivo Breukers / Rik Breukers / Luc Breukers / Fabian Danz), with the first of the 992-AM runners – the HRT Performance Porsche 992 GT3 Cup (#928, Jim Rautiainen / Miika Panu) – just three further tenths of a second behind.
The Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors Porsche 992 GT3 Cup (#955, Fabrizio Broggi / Sergiu Nicolae / Sabino de Castro), which goes into this weekend at the head of the 992 standings in CREVENTIC’s Middle East Trophy, will start 9th, immediately behind the KTM X-BOW GTX of class polesitter – and Middle East Trophy GTX standings leader – razoon-more than racing (#714, Dominik Olbert / Daniel Drexel / Haytham Qarajouli / Laura Kraihamer). The third of HRT Performance’s four entered Porsches this weekend – QMMF by HRT Thuraya Qatar (#929, Abdulla Ali Al Khelaifi / Ghanim Al Maadheed / Ibrahim Al Abdulghani / Julian Hanses) – rounds out the overall top 10 on the grid.
Further back on the grid, the Speed Lover Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#979, Jean Michel Gerome / Olivier Dons / Eric Mouez) was the third quickest of the 992-AM runners. One and two places respectively behind on the grid, Vortex V8 (#701, Lionel Amrouche / Julien Boillot / Philippe Bonnel) and the returning Tischner Motorsport Porsche 911-II Cup (#763, Michael Tischner / Matthias Tischner / Uwe Kleen), the latter making its first 24H SERIES start since 2016, were the 2nd and 3rd quickest runners in GTX respectively.
In a surprise twist, the Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R (#91, Markus Neuhofer / Felix Neuhofer / Alfred Renauer / Robert Renauer), which had been among the fastest GT3 runners, was only 21st after qualifying following a barrage of track limit infringement penalties in Q1. This meant the Bavarian team, officially, did not set a fast lap during Q1.
The returning Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#405, James Thorpe / Philip Quaife / Philip Keen) will start this afternoon’s Hankook 6H ABU DHABI from GT4-class pole position ahead of the BMW M4 GT4 of British compatriot, and last weekend’s GT4-class runner-up, Simpson Motorsport (#438, David Holloway / Vasily Vladykin / Carl Cavers). The returning Buggyra ZM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#416, Aliyyah Koloc / Adam Lacko / David Vrsecky) will start 3rd.
In a shock end to TCE qualifying, the Audi RS 3 LMS of provisional polesitter Wolf-Power Racing (#121, Jasmin Preisig / Ivars Vallers / Nicolas Baert / Ricky Coomber) ended its final session stricken at turn nine after broken right rear suspension ended Nicolas Baert’s final run early. The incident briefly brought out the red flags at the Yas Marina Circuit.
With Wolf-Power Racing unable to set a Q3 time, TCE pole position thus went to the Sharky-Racing Audi RS3 LMS DSG (#176, Artur Goroyan / Roman Mavlanov), the German team with two Armenian drivers having set an average best qualifying time of 2m 09.759s around the 5.281km Yas Marina Circuit.
Contact with the razoon-more than racing KTM during Free Practice meant the AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS TCR (#188, Marcos Costantini / Niels Ulrich Nyboe / Jonas Karklys) missed the first part of qualifying while a driveshaft and a broken shock absorber were replaced, though the Belgian team’s second entry (#199, Paul Sieljes / Mato Matosevic / Victor Moutinho), despite a quick spin during Q2, redeemed a tough start to the weekend for the Belgian team with 2nd in TCR. Despite its Q3 issues, Wolf-Power Racing will line up 3rd.
Two separate accidents earlier this weekend mean neither the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#710, Gregg Gorski / Jürgen Krebs / Josh Hansen) nor the RABDAN Motorsport Porsche 992 GT3 Cup (#977, Saif Alameri / Saeed Almheiri / Christopher Zöchling) will take any further part in the 2023 Hankook 6H ABU DHABI, the green flag for which is set to fly at 16.00 hrs local time this afternoon. 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.