Dubai, UAE, 10 January 2019: For the second year in a row the green Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of GRT Grasser Racing Team (#63), under the steady hands of Mirko Bortolotti, took pole position in qualifying at Dubai Autodrome on Thursday (10 January) to give the team another shot at winning the Hankook 24H Dubai, having failed to convert the pole last year.
In the previous 13 years of the iconic race, only German-made cars have ever won. All eyes will be on Mark Ineichen, Rolf Ineichen, Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti of GRT Grasser Racing Team to see if the drivers can finally get an Italian car to take top honours in the 14th edition of the Hankook 24H Dubai.
Bortolotti set the bar high with a best lap time of 1:57.446 on the 5.39-kilometre Grand Prix Circuit at Dubai Autodrome. Afterwards he remarked, “Again, it was hard work, but it shows that there is still plenty of speed in the old lady.”
This will be the final race for the team’s current Lamborghini Huracán GT3, as the new Evo version will make its competition debut at the next event.
The Audi R8 LMS of Car Collection Motorsport (#88) was 0.189 seconds off the leader’s pace to claim second on the starting grid and another Audi R8 LMS, of MS7 by WRT, will take up the third spot.
Last year’s winners, the #2 Black Falcon Mercedes AMG GT3 driven by Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Saud Al Faisal, Hubert Haupt and Yelmer Buurman, only managed a best lap time of 1:58.144, which will see the Mercedes starting on P6 in tomorrow’s line-up. With four previous team victories in the 24H Dubai, the drivers of Black Falcon are well-aware that many things can change in a 24-hour endurance race and their current position gives them ample confidence to challenge for the victory.
The Lamborghini topped the GT division, and in the Touring Car division (TCE) it was Steven Wells, behind the wheel of the CWS Engineering Ginnetta G55 (#378), to take the TCE pole for the team with a best lap time of 2:09.035.
The SP3 class Ginnetta, with drivers Colin White, Olivier Baron, Angus Fender and Steven Wells, will be fending off a small squadron of TCR class cars, including the Audi RS3 LMS of AC Motorsport that was over half a second behind in qualifying to take second on the grid.
Report: Aaron Meriwether
Photos: Arthur Rosales and Aaron Meriwether