Wednesday 11 January 2012

Ready to race: 7th Dunlop 24H DUBAI on Friday and Saturday

Ready to race: 7th Dunlop 24H DUBAI on Friday and Saturday
DUBAI (January 11th, 2012) – All the transport containers have been placed in the paddock of the Dubai Autodrome, all the drivers and team members are flying in from all over the world: this week, the 2012 motor racing season officially gets underway with the seventh running of the Dunlop 24H DUBAI, jointly organised by Dutch agency CREVENTIC and DNRT. Track action at the Dubai Autodrome starts on Wednesday with rent-a-car-rides and an optional test session. Free practice, qualifying and night practice are scheduled for Thursday while the race starts on Friday at 14.00 h local time (11.00 h CET) and finishes 24 hours later.
No less than 20 car brands will be present on the grid for this year‟s Dunlop 24H DUBAI, the first international endurance race of the year for GTs, touring cars and 24H specials. With 18 cars, Porsche has the largest contingent, closely followed by BMW with 16 entries. These two brands are also jointly on top of the winners‟ list of the Dunlop 24H DUBAI with three overall race wins each. Last year, German BMW team Schubert Motorsport claimed victory and they are back to defend their title under the „Saudi Falcons by Schubert‟ banner with a strong line-up that includes lady racer Claudia Hürtgen and Swede Edward Sandström, who were both in last year‟s winning team, as well as BMW works driver Jörg Müller and Saudi-Arabian drivers Abdulaziz Al Faisal and Faisal Binladen. Porsche is represented by a wealth of strong teams and various well-known drivers.
One year after the 24h race debut of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, there will be four sportscars with gullwing doors in Dubai, with five times‟ DTM champion Bernd Schneider racing for Heico Motorsport and two times Porsche Supercup winner Jeroen Bleekemolen driving for Black Falcon. Last year, Lamborghini teams showed a very strong performance in qualifying, locking out the front row of the grid for the 2011 Dunlop 24H Dubai. For this year‟s race, no less than five Lamborghinis have been entered. Nissan also has a strong presence, including the reigning FIA GT1 world champion, Michael Krumm, and one car with the first-ever all-gamer crew in a major race, all the drivers having emerged from the Nissan/PlayStation GT Academy program. Other sports car brands on the grid in Dubai include Aston Martin, Audi, Corvette, Ferrari, Ginetta, Lotus and Saker.
Based on the performance shown in previous years, good results can also be expected from the cars in the SP2 category like the Renault Mégane and GC silhouettes and the brawny DNRT V8 stock car, the NASCAR-style machine that will be racing in Dubai for the first time. The A5 class traditionally is the BMW domain while hot hatchbacks like Renault Clio, MINI and BMW 120 make up most of the A2 touring car category.
On Wednesday, January 11th, there is an optional private test from 13.30 till 17.30 h, followed by the welcome party in the paddock. On Thursday, January 12th, there are free practice sessions from 11.30 till 12.15 and 13.15 till 14.45 h. Qualifying is scheduled from 15.00 till 17.30 h with the first hour for all classes and then two separate heats of 30 minutes each for the smaller and the bigger categories. On Friday, January 13th, the action starts with warm-up from 10.30 till 11.00 h. The 24-
hour race starts at 14.00 h. This year‟s Dunlop 24H DUBAI will be covered by Motors TV and Radio Le Mans while live timing, live streaming and news can also be found at
Under the motto “Fighting cancer lap by lap”, money will again be raised during the Dunlop 24H DUBAI for the benefit of the KWF Dutch Cancer Society. Teams and drivers can enrol in a donation programme to support the good cause. Last year, a total donation of 15,000 Euros could be made to the Dutch Cancer Society after the Dunlop 24H DUBAI. Of course, the aim for this year is to exceed that amount.

Creventic/Gerrie Willems.

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