The Asian Le Mans Series delivered another good race, when the teams were running for the second four hour race the weekend at the Dubai Autodrome.
G-Drive Racing had secured first row for today’s race too, with #25 raced by Franco Colapinto, Rui Pinto de Andrade and John Falb on Pole, ahead of #26 with Yifei Ye, Ferdinand Habsburg and Rene Binder. JOTA #28 with Sean Gelael and Stoffel Vandoorne was starting third, next to Phoenix Racing #5 with Nicki Thiim, Simon Trummer and Matthias Kaiser on P4.
The starting positions for LMP3 was exactly like yesterday’s race – United Autosports #23 with Wayne Boyd, Manuel Maldonado and Rory Penttinen on Pole, ahead of Duncan Tappy, Andrew Bentley and Jim McGuire in UA #3, and CD Sport #33 with Adam Eteki, Michael Jensen and Nick Adcock on P3.
Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #93 with Klaus Bachler, Steffen Görig and Antares Au was on the Pole amongst the GT cars, ahead of GPX Racing Porsche #40 with Julien Andlauer, Axcil Jefferies and Alain Ferte, while Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 with twin brothers Robert and Alfred Renauer plus Ralf Bohn were starting third.
Porsche had been handed 20kg of extra ballast overnight, since the BOP computer had calculated the advantage of the German brand to be a bit too advantageous compared to the other brands.
The start went a lot smoother today, with all cars making it through Turn 1 without issues.
Malthe Jakobsen in RLR MSport #15 took third place in the LMP3, going into Turn 1, and raced his way to the front of the category, even before the first lap had finished. Well done by the young Dane.
The GT lead switched to GPX Racing Porsche #40, with Garage 59 Aston Martin #88 also passing the Pole car Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #93.
There was contact between Oman Racing with TF Aston Martin #97 and Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99, which resulted in a puncture for #99. It was thankfully right before the pit entry, so Ralf Bohn didn’t lose too much time.
John Falb in #25 did an amazing job out front, with the experienced Bronze driver leading the whole field for the first 10 minutes of the race, before Rene Binder in the sister car #26 overtook him.
Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW #34 and Formula Racing Ferrari #60 had contact in Turn 1, leaving #34 with Chandler Hull stranded, while Johnny Laursen was able to drive back to the pits. The stranded #34 resulted in a Full Course Yellow, so the marshals could recover the car.
That made several of the teams pit, to add a bit of extra fuel, and to put them on an alternative strategy.
Once the race went green again, it took Falb in #25 a bit longer for get into the rhythm again, and lost three spots in just a few corners. But him being able to lead the race for the first 10 minutes, was already a great achievement by the American.
Sean Gelael in JOTA #28 overtook Simon Trummer in the Phoenix Racing #5, which instantly came under pressure from Arjun Maini in the Racing Team India #64 car . Maini made his way past, just a few laps later.
The lead of the race changed shortly after, with Sean Gelael in JOTA #28 grabbing the lead from Rene Binder in G-Drive Racing #26.
The GT lead had changed as well, with Marvin Kirchhöfer i Garage 59 #88 being out front.
There were huge troubles after half an hour of running, with three cars involved. Phoenix Racing #4, JOTA #28 and Nielsen Racing #8 had some sort of issue. While #28 and #8 was able to get going again, the #4 of Jan-Erik Slooten wasn’t able to drive off. That resulted in a Full Course Yellow, so marshals could get to the car. That handed the lead back to G-Drive Racing #26. Slooten later explained, that he had contact with a GT cars, and that had hit the rear of the LMP3 car, so he wasn’t able to keep going.
That caused the LMP2 cars to pit, since their fuel tanks was close to being empty anyway.
JOTA #28 fell far down the field, since the team had to repair it for the damages, that it had received with the contact.
Jakobsen in RLR MSport #15 had slowly build a big gap of 18 seconds to the second placed United Autosports #23 with Rory Penttinen.
Eurointernational #11 had an issue on course, where Neale Muston just had pitted, and was crawling slowly back to the pits. After several minutes of trying, he finally rolled into the pitlane again.
Oman Racing by TF Aston Martin #97 was handed a Drive-through for the contact with the Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 earlier on. That was bad news for the now leading GT car.
Formula Racing Ferrari #60 also received a Drive-through, for having hit the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW #34.
Formula Racing Ferrari #60 was caught speeding in the pits – so that was another Drive-through for the Danish outfit.
Just like in yesterday’s race, there was several Track Limits warning, that could potentially develop into real penalties, later on the in the race.
Jakobsen handed the RLR MSport #15 over to Bashar Mardini with more than half a minute of lead to the United Autosports #23 in second in the LMP3 category. Impressive driving.
Era Motorsport #18 had a solo spin, but Dwight Merriman swiftly got underway again.
ARC Bratislava #44 had a good first stint of the race, where Miro Konopka was able to hang onto the other LMP3 cars, despite it being the first racing weekend of the Ginetta.
The lad of the race switched, when Arjun Maini in the Racing Team India #64 made his way past Rene Binder in the G-Drive Racing #26.
JOTA #28 was handed a Stop & Go for hitting Phoenix Racing #4 earlier in the race.
HubAuto Racing Mercedes #1 had a solo spin in Turn 9, but nothing too serious for Liam Talbot. But his day didn’t become any better, when he was handed a Drive-through for speeding in the pits.
Era Motorsport #18 was handed a 10 seconds pitstop penalty, for having pushed another car off the track.
DKR Engineering #63 had made it’s way to the lead of the LMP3 category, since they had pitted early in the race, during one of the FCY periods, putting them on a different fuel strategy. When they pitted for the second time of the race, the RLR MSport #15 was able to resume their lead, with Mardini doing almost the same pace as Rory Penttinen.
Naveen Rao in the Racing Team India #64 wasn’t quite as fast has his teammates – which was only natural, since this was his third race in an LMP2 car – so he had dropped back to third, while G-Drive Racing #26 was leading, and Phoenix Racing #5 was into second position of the race.
AF Corse Ferrari #51 got a 10 second pitstop penalty, for having handled fuel without a mechanic wearing his helmet.
At the halfway point of the race, it was G-Drive Racing #26 leading LMP2, RLR MSport #15 in LMP3, and GPX Racing Porsche #40 in GT.
Racing Team India #64 had touched another car, so one of its headlights was dangling in the wind.
JOTA #28 had to be pushed into the garage, where the mechanics started repairing the car. That took them 10 minutes, before Stoffel Vandoorne was able to rejoin.
ARC Bratislava #44 stopped on the circuit, which was the second time in the race, following a pitstop. That same thing happened after the first stop, where Charlie Robertson was in the car, and he was able to refire the car. It took Tom Cloet more than 5 minutes, until he got it restarted.
Rinaldi Racing Ferrari #66 got a Drive-through penalty for Track Limits.
The second position in GT changed from Rinaldi Racing Ferrari #55 to Garage 59 Aston Martin #89, with Marvin Kirchhöfer making a very late dive on Rino Mastronardi, at the end of the back straight.
The leading G-Drive Racing #26 was handed a Drive-through for having overtaken outside the white lines of the track.
Rinaldi Racing Ferrari #66 got a 5 seconds Stop & Go, since they continued to run outside the Track Limits.
The final hour of the race started with G-Drive Racing #26 leading LMP2, United Autosports #23 leading LMP3, while GPX Racing Porsche #40 continued to be in the GT lead.
Nicki Thiim in Phoenix Racing #5 had caught up with G-Drive Racing #25, with the Dane being less than two seconds behind Franco Colapinto.
RLR MSport #15 had been caught speeding in the pitlane, so Maxwell Hanratty had to serve a Drive-through penalty. There was no info to weather it was Bashar Mardini going into the pits, or Hanratty leaving… That made a potential podium finish disappear, following the impressive opening stint of Jakobsen, stepping out of the car with 30 seconds lead.
Nielsen Racing #9 was running very slowly on the track, with Colin Noble trying to get the car back to the pits. which took him several minutes. The team unfortunately had to give up on repairing some suspension damage, and never rejoined the race.
Kessel Racing Ferrari #77 got a Drive-through penalty for abusing Track Limits.
RLR MSport #15, Formula Racing Ferrari #60 and D’Station Racing Aston Martin #77 was all handed a 1 second Stop & Go penalty, for not doing the minimum pitstop time. CD Sport #33 got a 7 seconds Stop & Go for the same thing.
G-Drive Racing #26 with Yifei Ye, Ferdinand Habsburg and Rene Binder won the race for the second day in a row, ahead of their #25 teammates with John Falb, Franco Colapinto and Rui Pinto de Andrade, while Phoenix Racing #5 with Matthias Kaiser, Simon Trummer and Nicki Thiim finished third.
Era Motorsport #18 with Dwight Merriman, Kyle Tilley and Andreas Laskaratos was the best – and unfortunately, the only – LMP2 Am car finishing the race. Eurointernational #11 never made it back on the track, following their early race problems.
United Autosports #23 with Manuel Maldonado, Wayne Boyd and Rory Penttinen won the race for the second day in a row, ahead of their teammates in #2 with Andy Meyrick, Rob Wheldon and Ian Loggie, and the Nielsen Racing #8 with Matt Bell and Rodrigo Sales. DKR Engineering #63 med Jean Glorieux and Laurents Hörr lost second place on the very final lap, finishing all the way back in fourth, by losing 6 seconds on the very final lap – resulting in two lost spots.
GPX Racing Porsche #40 with Alain Ferte, Axcil Jefferies and Julien Andlauer won the race in the GT category, ahead of Rinaldi Racing Ferrari #55 with Rino Mastronardi, David Perel and Davide Rigon, while Garage 59 Aston Martin #88 finished third with Maxime Martin, Valentin Hasse-Clot and Alexander West.
Rinaldi Racing Ferrari #66 with Christian Hook, Manuel Lauck and Patrick Kujala was the best Am car, for the second day in a row.
G-Drive Racing #26 has a comfortable LMP2 championship lead, ahead of Phoenix Racing #5 and G-Drive Racing #25.
United Autosports #23 leads the LMP3 championship by an ever bigger gap, ahead of United Autosports #2 and #3.
The GT standings are led by GPX Racing Porsche #40, ahead of Precote Herberth Porsche #99 and Inception Racing McLaren#7.
All the teams have to pack their equipment, and drive to Abu Dhabi, where the first official practice will run on Thursday, ahead of qualifying and race 1 being run on Friday.