2022 event winner CP Racing on pole for second Hankook 12H KUWAIT

CP Racing will start the final 24H SERIES powered by Hankook event of 2023 – the second-ever Hankook 12H KUWAIT – from outright pole position, just ahead of Century Motorsport on the latter’s endurance racing debut with its new BMW M4 GT3.

The CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) took its second overall victory in the 24H SERIES in Kuwait last December, and finished a surprisingly close 55-minute qualifying session just half a second clear of the Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 (#22, Carl Cavers / Lewis Plato / Jack Barlow) to claim overall pole.

This mark’s only the second time that the American team will start a 24H SERIES event from outright pole position, and the first time since the Hankook 12H MUGELLO in 2020.

Reigning 992 Teams’ ‘Europe’ champion Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors – now running as Manamauri Energy by Ebimotors Porsche 992 GT3 R (#93, Fabrizio Broggi / Sabino de Castro / Sergiu Nicolae / Papi Cosimo) – made a similarly impressive start to its first campaign with the new Porsche 992 GT3 R by securing 3rd on the grid.

Tellingly, CP Racing, Century Motorsport and Manamauri Energy by Ebimotors topped one 15-minute qualifying apiece in Kuwait – Q3, Q1 and Q2 respectively – with a phenomenally tight 0.069s and 0.030s splitting the top two contenders in Q1 and Q3. A sign of the competition to come across the uninterrupted 12-hour race that gets underway tomorrow, Saturday 9 December, at 10.00 hrs local time.

A close back-and-forth for 992-class pole position was eventually decided in Red Camel-Jordans.nl’s favour (#909, Ivo Breukers / Rik Breukers / Luc Breukers / Fabian Danz). The Dutch team, which finished 3rd overall at last year’s Hankook 12H KUWAIT, ended Q1 on provisional class pole a comfortable margin ahead of the RABDAN by FULGENZI Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#971, Saif Alameri / Enrico Fernando Fulgenzi / Christopher Zöchling), only for the UAE team to top the two remaining 15-minute qualifying sessions. The pair were eventually split by just four-tenths, on average, and will start line-astern in 5th and 7th overall respectively.

Just ahead of the 992 frontrunners, Vortex V8 Vortex 2.0 (#701, Arnaud Gomez / Philippe Bonnel / Lionel Amrouche / Olivier Gomez) made a strong start to its first race weekend with the new ‘2.0’ bespoke sports car by securing GTX-class pole position 4th on the overall grid. The returning Toro Verde (#795, Lawrence Tomlinson / Freddie Tomlinson / Michael Simpson) – which last competed with CREVENTIC at this year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI – lines up 2nd in GTX with its Ginetta G56 Cup, and splits Red Camel-Jordans.nl and RABDAN by FULGENZI on the overall grid.

Razoon – More Than Racing (#714, Artur Chwist / Haytham Qarajouli / Daniel Drexel / Dominik Olbert) lines up 8th on the overall grid. The reigning GTX-class, 24H SERIES Middle East Trophy winner endured a tough start to the event when team boss Dominik Olbert suffered a heavy accident during private testing, requiring a full rebuild of the KTM X-BOW GTX. Fortunately Dominik emerged unscathed from the incident and was attended to at Kuwait Motor Town’s on-site medical facility.

24H SERIES newcomer, and two-time Nürburgring 24 Hours class winner, KKrämer Racing rounds out the 992 contingent with its two-car field, the #936 Porsche 992 GT3 Cup (#936, Tobias Müller / Michele Di Martino / ‘Selv’ / Karsten Krämer / Moritz Kranz) pipping its sister #937 (‘Selv’ / Karsten Krämer / Michele Di Martino) thanks to a brief spin for the latter during Q2 on its hot lap.

Century Motorsport’s sister BMW M4 (#429, Ravi Ramyead / Charlie Robertson / David Holloway / Nathan Freke) will start from GT4 pole position ahead of long-time category rival Simpson Motorsport (#438, Fabian Duffieux / Andrey Solukovtsev / Vasily Vladykin), which this weekend is also running a BMW M4 GT4 in association with AGMC Racing.

Technical gremlins for Simpson Motorsport’s sister TCR entry meant the Audi RS3 LMS DSG (#138, James Kaye / Ricky Coomber / Henry Neal / Jack Lemmer) did not complete a lap during Q2, and will therefore start from the back of the grid, one place behind the returning CWS Engineering Ginetta G55 (#278, Colin White / Neale Muston / Christian Broberg). The 2023 Hankook 12H KUWAIT will be the first endurance race in over a year for team founder and namesake, Colin White.