Dubai, UAE, 14 February 2021: History was made when the acclaimed Asian Le Mans Series raced in the UAE for the first time at Dubai Autodrome on Saturday (13 February) with the inaugural victory claimed by G-Drive Racing (#26).
With the overall win, Rene Binder, Yifei Ye and Ferdinand Habsburg of G-Drive Racing also took home LMP2 Class Honours.
In the LMP3 category, United Autosports (#23), with drivers Rory Penttinen, Wayne Boyd and Manuel Maldonado, had a faultless run, going from pole to class victory in convincing fashion.
It was heartbreak for local heroes GPX Racing (#40), who controlled the GT contingent up until the final three minutes of the race, until spinning off track under pressure. The Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 (#99), at the hands of Ralf Bohn, Alfred Renauer and Robert Renauer promptly took advantage and the class win.
All Class Winners
LMP2: #26 G-Drive Racing Aurus 01 Gibson – (Rene Binder/Yifei Ye/Ferdinand Habsburg)
LMP2 Am: #18 Era Motorsport Oreca 07 – Gibson (Andreas Laskaratos/Kyle Tille/Dwight Merriman)
LMP3: #23 United Autosports Ligier JS P320 Nissan – (Rory Penttinen/Wayne Boyd/Manuel Maldonado)
GT: #99 Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 (Ralf Bohn/Alfred Renauer/Robert Renauer)
GT Am: #66 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 – (Christian Hook/Manuel Lauck/Patrick Kujala)
G-Drive Racing (#25), with drivers John Falb, Franco Colapinto and Rui Pinto de Andrade, kicked off the race weekend by topping all qualifiers for both race starts.
Colapinto nailed pole position for G-Drive Racing in both races after setting high marks of 1:43.616 and 1:43.885 on the 5.39-kilometre Grand Prix Circuit at Dubai Autodrome, beating out his G-Drive teammates in the #26 car. The Argentinian driver started from pole for the first race of the year in his Aurus 01 prototype.
Behind the wheel of the United Autosports (#23) Ligier JS P320, Wayne Boyd took LMP3 pole honours for both Race 1 and Race 2, with the United Autosports sister car (#3) lining up alongside in second-position.
GT pole positions were split among the Porsche 911 GT3 Rs of Precote Herberth Motorsport. Robert Renauer set a 1:55.552 best lap in the #99 entry, with teammate Klaus Bachler setting a time of 1:55.866 in the #93 car to start Race 2 from pole.
Race 1 Highlights
An extraordinary assemblage of 36 vehicles, with a mix of prototypes and GTs in the fray, dove into the first corner to start the first Asian Le Mans Series round of 2021.
Simon Trummer of Phoenix Racing (#5) pushed his Oreca 07 past the polesitter and to the front of the pack. A bumping incident between Sean Gelael of JOTA (#28) and Trummer allowed Rene Binder of G-Drive Racing (#26) to take control of the contest and then hand-off the Aurus 01 into the capable hands of Yifei Ye to start building a gap.
United Autosports (#23) continued the team’s dominance in LMP3 as Rory Penttinen, Wayne Boyd and Manuel Maldonado remained unchallenged in their Ligier JS P320 from the first lap onwards.
Julien Andlauer of GPX Racing (#40) made a great start, charging his Porsche 911 GT3 R well ahead of any GT rivals. Teammate Axcil Jefferies consolidated the position, but a late race spin from Alain Ferte saw the Dubai-based team drop to second (and then a penalty applied post-race saw them drop again to fourth).
The door was now wide open for another Porsche, driven by Ralf Bohn, Alfred Renauer and Robert Renauer of Precote Herberth Motorsport (#99) to take over the GT field.
After four hours of endurance racing, Habsburg took the chequered flag for G-Drive Racing a full lap ahead of JOTA, while Boyd coasted in for United Autosports to top LMP3, and Renauer celebrated a surprise GT victory for Precote Herberth Motorsport.
Report & Photos: Aaron Meriwether