Saturday January 15, 2022 by Eliane Gilain
The first major endurance event of the season and the inaugural round of the 24H Series championship, the Dubai 24 Hours concluded on Saturday and was marked by a double Audi thanks to the WRT team. Registered as MS7 by WRT, the winning Audi R8 LMS GT3 (pictured below) dominated the race, ahead of the Belgian team’s sister car Vincent Vosse. Quebecer Mikaël Grenier, accompanied by Kenny Habul, Maro Engel and Jules Gounon of the SunEnergy 1 Racing team (pictured above), completed the podium, best representing Mercedes with their AMG GT3.
In this uneventful event, Christopher Mies, Thomas Neubauer, Axcil Jefferies and Mohammed Saud Fahad Al Saud dominated the No. 7. Robot won by leading a lap over the No.31 led by Frédéric Vervisch, Benjamin Goethe, Arnold Robin, Maxime Robin and Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer. The car took the lead several times but in the end, the No. 7’s tenacity paid off. For the WRT team, arguably the best Audi team in the world at the moment, this bodes well for what will again be a great 2022 season, after many titles won in various Endurance series in 2021.
For the drivers of the SunEnergy1 Championship, on the other hand, it was not a sure platform due to the technical problems of their Mercedes AMG GT3 at the start of the event. However, the strategy was correct and the team was able to come back strongly in the final hours of the race. “We were unlucky at the start of the race, but now, thanks to everyone’s good work, we are on the right track to recovery,” Grenier said mid-race.
If the Dubai event is a taste of the 2022 season, it will once again be very exciting in the world of Endurance as this event has presented action at all levels, including in the Top 10 List of Witnesses for all this, less than a second 8 separate Grenier’s. Mercedes and its teammates from another Mercedes, that of Abu Dhabi Racing by HRT, were ranked 4th with its driver team owner Hubert Haupt as an iron spear.
The battle for third place took a decisive turn in the final hour of the race, thanks to the fuel economy achieved by Mikaël Grenier. The Quebecer actually managed to avoid having to pit for the last pit stop in the final minutes of the race, unlike the Abu Dhabi Racing Mercedes driven by Raffaele Marciello who was constantly attacking.
Completing the Top 5 in all categories and in GT3, there is the third Mercedes-AMG GT3, that of Al Manar Racing (another car prepared by HRT), ahead of the first Porsche 911 GT3 R, entered by Herberth Motorsport. Among the early favourites, two Dinamic Motorsport Porsches retired in the first half of the race.
One of ST Racing’s new BMW M4 GT3s, driven by Quebecers Louis-Philippe Montour and Nick Wittmer, along with Chandler Hull, Harry Gottsacker and Jon Miller, finished 21st overall (29 laps behind the winners) but 9th in the GT3 class Pro. The team had a difficult start to the race, losing a few laps in the first hours before consolidating their position overnight.
The second BMW M4 GT3 of Canadian team ST Racing, No. 1 assigned to Samantha Tan, Anthony Lazzaro, Harry Gottsacker (entered in two team cars), Tyler Maxson and Bryson Morris, finished 5th in GT3 Pro- I is a class, 25th overall. It was the MP Motorsport team, entering the Mercedes AMG-GT3 car, that took the win in this class, finishing in the top 10 overall.
In the GT4 class, another success for Mercedes and Dragon Racing, the team entering Roald Goethe, Oliver Goethe, Stuart Hall and Jordan Grogor in the AMG GT4. Canadian Roman De Angelis and his teammates in the Aston Martin Vantage of The Heart of Racing team finished 2nd. These first two crews in the GT4 class finished 30th and 31st overall, separated from each other by just one lap.
No fewer than 81 crews were registered for this 2022 edition of the Dubai 24 Hours, at the Dubai Autodrome. 80 started and 68 crossed the finish line. See full rates here.