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Overall and class wins for Mercedes-AMG in rain chaos of the Dubai 24 Hours

Press information | 11 January, 2020 | Dubai / United Arab Emirates

With the overall win and two further class wins in the Dubai 24-hour race, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport is celebrating the 2020 season opener, also the start of the tenth anniversary year of its Customer Racing programme. BLACK FALCON wins the chaotic rain race that had to be stopped after a little over seven hours, scoring the fifth victory for Mercedes-AMG with earlier wins for the SLS AMG GT3 in 2012, 2013 and 2015 and for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in 2018 and 2020. The new Mercedes-AMG GT3 also convinced in its official competition debut with seventh place overall for SPS automotive performance. In total, four of the eight Mercedes-AMG GT3 that had taken the start finished in the top ten. Two class wins round out the successful performance at Dubai Autodrome: MP Motorsport wins the GT3-Am class and Atlas BX Motorsports claims first place in the GT4 classification with the Mercedes-AMG GT4.

  • Overall win for the #4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • GT3-Am class win for #19 MP Motorsport
  • GT4 class win for #403 Atlas BX Motorsports
  • Successful race debut of the new Mercedes-AMG GT3

Dubai – Heavy rain was the reason that the 24-hour race in Dubai already had to be stopped after around seven hours of racing. However, the extremely difficult conditions didn’t prevent BLACK FALCON from scoring what already was its fifth overall win. The team made the decisive move to success when it, unlike its competitors, decided, together with its driver Hubert Haupt, to stay out on slick tyres with around five hours completed, in spite of again increasing rain. As the track dried out again, Hubert Haupt was able to take the lead as he, again unlike rivals ahead of him, didn’t need an additional pit stop. Together with Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Ben Barker (GBR), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED) and Manuel Metzger (GER), the quintet extended its lead until the interruption after around seven hours to 4m42.846s. With this victory, Al Qubaisi, Bleekemolen and Haupt managed to win the 24H Dubai for the third time already and therefore are the sole record holders in terms of outright wins in Dubai, just like BLACK FALCON as a team with five overall wins. Due to too large amounts of rain at Dubai Autodrome, it was decided not to continue the race after a long interruption. The order at the time of interruption after around seven hours was used as the classification.

In the hands of Customer Racing Teams CP Racing (#85) and SPS automotive performance (#10), the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 celebrated its official competition debut in the 24H Dubai and was able to convince right away. Having started from 13th on the grid, the driver quartet in the number #10 car with Lance David Arnold (GER), Dominik Baumann (AUT), Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR) and Valentin Pierburg (GER) quickly moved up into the top ten. The new GT3 from Affalterbach particularly showed its strengths in the rain. In these conditions, the car with starting number ten made up another three positions and finished the race in seventh place overall. The #85 CP Racing entry with Charles Espenlaub (USA), Joe Foster (USA), Mike Hedlund (USA), Shane Lewis (USA) and Charles Putman (USA) eventually finished in 15th place. The new Mercedes-AMG GT3 will have its second 24-hour race outing in a fortnight during the Rolex 24 At Daytona (22-26 January).

The Customer Racing Teams in the GT3-AM and the GT4 class also had a successful start of the 2020 season: MP Motorsport’s number 19 saw Bert de Heus, Daniel de Jong, Henk de Jong and Jaap van Lagen (all NED) claim victory in the GT3-AM class from its fellow Mercedes-AMG drivers of the Toksport WRT team (#70 Mercedes-AMG GT3) Alexander Hrachowina (AUT), Finlay Hutchinson (GBR), Axcil Jefferies (ZIM), George Kurtz (USA) and Martin Konrad (AUT) in second place. Upon its debut in the 24H Dubai and in its maiden race with the Mercedes-AMG GT4, the Atlas BX Motorsports team scored a GT4 class win. Steven Cho (CAN), Jongkyum Kim, Jaseung Park (both KOR) and Masataka Yanagida (JPN) were the drivers of the car with starting number 403. Moreover, the QSR Racing Team secured second place in the GTX class with the #754 Mercedes-AMG GT4 and drivers Olivier Bertels, Jimmy de Breucker, Johnny de Breucker, Michiel Verhaeren (all BEL) and Dimitry Gvazava (RUS).

The next 24H Series event is the 12 Hours of Monza in Italy, 26-27 March.

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “Of course, it is a pity for all the teams that we only could race for seven of the 24 hours. But we are very happy to have been able to win this crazy race in Dubai and to score further class wins and podium results. Therefore, congratulations to all Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams and the drivers who have mastered these conditions and have found the right strategies for them. The debut of our new Mercedes-AMG GT3 was also very positive with seventh place overall and I am already looking forward to the next outings at Daytona and Bathurst in the upcoming weeks.”

Khaled Al Qubaisi, BLACK FALCON #4: “After 2012 and 2013, I have now managed to win this race for the third time. Having retired six times while in contention for victory in the past years, this win is a real relief and I am overjoyed. Many thanks to my teammates and to BLACK FALCON for having made a really good choice with the strategy again today.”

Jeroen Bleekemolen, BLACK FALCON #4: “A win is a win. Last year, I missed out on victory at Daytona as the race was stopped in a similar way, this time, I am lucky. We had a top race, a super strategy. All drivers had a perfect stint and we were able to build up a relatively huge advantage. Therefore I believe that this victory is deserved.”

Hubert Haupt, BLACK FALCON #4: “Our chief engineer gave me a good feeling that the rain would stop again for a while and then we decided together to stay out on slicks. Then, we had four or five laps that were a bit difficult because of the conditions, but then we were able to clearly benefit from our advantage. Of course, you really come to Dubai to drive a full 24-hour race in nice weather conditions, but when we are at the front when the race is stopped, we are also the deserving winners.”

Manuel Metzger, BLACK FALCON #4: “Of course, we are happy with this victory. Admittedly, only driving a third of the distance isn’t entirely satisfying as I simply like to be behind the wheel as much as possible. But at the end of the day, we made the right decisions, we had the perfect strategy. Even when the race wouldn’t have been stopped, we would have been in a super position for the remainder of the race.”

Dominik Baumann, SPS automotive performance #10: “The first race of the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 went well, even though we had hoped for a little bit more than 13th place in qualifying. In the race, however, we were soon able to move up to tenth in the dry. As the rain set in, the GT3 was running even better and we made up further positions, all the way up to seventh. Too bad that the race was stopped. I reckon that we could have made up some more. And we could have done with every further lap as test time for the new Mercedes-AMG GT3. But at the end of the day, you have to accept that the race was stopped. A normal race wouldn’t have been possible anymore for safety reasons.”

Daniel de Jong, MP Motorsport #19: “We started the race from sixth overall and first place in class, which was very good already. I was relatively cautious at the start to make it through the opening stages with the many duels without damage. We were then able to make up some more positions, especially when the rain set in. I felt very comfortable and safe in the Mercedes-AMG GT3, which also boosted my confidence in these weather conditions. That we have eventually secured the class win with an advantage of around two laps is super!”

Martin Konrad, Toksport WRT #70: “I was allowed to drive the final stint before the race was stopped. I reckon stopping the race was the right call from race control. In some places, standing water was up to 20cm high and in spite of code 60, we were all suffering from aquaplaning. Really, nobody could expect anything like this in Dubai. Nevertheless, we are happy with our second place in class, of course.”

Steven Cho, Atlas BX Motorsports #403: “The class win is a great result for us in our maiden international outing outside of Korea and our debut with the Mercedes-AMG GT4 at the same time. For logistical reasons, we only took delivery of the car here at the track on Tuesday. Therefore, I am all the more grateful to Mercedes-AMG for their continuous supporting in the preparation and the set-up of the car. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 then ran perfectly in the first track session. Our entire team and the drivers have done a super job against a very strong opposition. As the red flag was out, we had a full tank and a relatively big advantage. On one hand, we would have liked to finish the race, of course, but on the other hand, you never know what still could have happened during the race. Therefore, we happily take this class win as it comes.”

Maro Engel, Toksport WRT #777: “Pole position was a nice reward for the team and the mechanics who had been working on the car until four in the morning prior to qualifying. In the race, unfortunately, we didn’t have any luck and we had to park the car. That is too bad, of course, but my thanks go out to the entire Toksport WRT team that has shown an incredible commitment and has given us as the drivers a very fast Mercedes-AMG GT3.”

Result Dubai 24 Hours*:

POS
overall
POS
class
Nr.
Car
Team
Drivers
1.
1.
GT3-PRO
4
Mercedes-AMG GT3 2016
BLACK FALCON
Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Ben Barker (GBR), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Hubert Haupt (GER), Manuel Metzger (GER)
2.
2.
GT3-PRO
88
Audi R8 LMS Evo 2019
Car Collection Motorsprt
Rik Breukers (NED), Christopher Haase (GER), Mike-David Ortmann (GER), Dimitri Parhofer  (GER), Markus Winkelhock (GER)
3.
3.
GT3-PRO
7
Audi R8 LMS Evo 2019
MS7 by WRT
Rik Breukers (NED), Christopher Mies (GER), Mohammed Saud Fahad Al Saud (KSA), Dries Vanthoor (BEL), Michael Vergers (NED)
 
 
 
 
 
7.
7.
GT3-PRO
10
Mercedes-AMG GT3
SPS automotive performance
Lance David Arnold (GER), Dominik Baumann (AUT), Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR), Valentin Pierburg (GER)
8.
1.
GT3-AM
19
Mercedes-AMG GT3 2016
MP Motorsport
Bert de Heus (NED), Daniel de Jong (NED), Henk de Jong (NED), Jaap van Lagen (NED)
10.
2.
GT3-AM
70
Mercedes-AMG GT3 2016
Toksport WRT
Axcil Jefferies (ZIM), Finlay Hutchinson (GBR), Alexander Hrachowina (AUT), Martin Konrad (AUT), George Kurtz (USA)
13.
5.
GT3-AM
69
Mercedes-AMG GT3 2016
Team Hong Kong Craft-Bamboo Racing
Antares Au (HKG), Jonathan Hui (HKG), Kevin Tse (MAC), Frank Yu (HKG)
15.
7.
GT3-AM
85
Mercedes-AMG GT3
CP Racing
Charles Espenlaub (USA), Joe Foster (USA), Mike Hedlund (USA), Shane Lewis (USA), Charles Putman (USA)
16.
9.
GT3-PRO
84
Mercedes-AMG GT3 2016
HTP WINWARD Motorsport
Al Faisal Al Zubair (OMA), Maximilian Buhk (GER), Christopher Brück (GER), Indy Dontje (NED), Maximilian Götz (GER)
19.
(DNF)
10.
GT3-PRO
777
Mercedes-AMG GT3 2016
Toksport WRT
Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Philip Ellis (GER), Maro Engel (GER), Martin Konrad (AUT), Luca Stolz (GER)
28.
2.
GTX
754
Mercedes-AMG GT4
QSR Racing
Olivier Bertels (BEL), Jimmy de Breucker (BEL), Dimitry Gvazava (RUS), Michiel Verhaeren (BEL)
30.
1.
GT4
403
Mercedes-AMG GT4
Atlas BX Motorsports
Steven Cho (CAN), Jongkyum Kim (KOR), Jaesung Park (KOR), Masataka Yanagida (JPN)
36.
5.
GT4
410
Mercedes-AMG GT4
Leipert Motorsport
Kenneth Heyer (GER), Fidel Leib (GER), Ronny Lethmate (GER), Melvin Moh (MAS)
37.
6.
GT4
462
Mercedes-AMG GT4
Ciceley Motorsport
Jack Butel (GBR), Jake Giddings (GBR), Katarina Kyvalova (SVK), Jon Minshaw (GBR), Adam Morgan (GBR)

* excerpt subject to confirmation by the organiser

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Overall winners 24H Dubai 2020: #4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

1st and 2nd place GT3-AM class with #19 MP Motorsport and #70 Toksport WRT

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

1st place GTX class: #754 QSR Racing Team

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

#4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 at the parade through Motor City

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

Race start of the 24H Dubai

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

Red flag after seven hours

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

The new Mercedes-AMG GT3, #10 SPS automotive performance

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

#19 MP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 and #410 Leipert Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

#70 Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

#403 Atlas BX Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

#754 QSR Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

Pole position for the #777 Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

#84 HTP WINWARD Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

#4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

#403 Atlas BX Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

#69 Team Hong Kong Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

The new Mercedes-AMG GT3, #85 CP Racing

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

#410 Leipert Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4

11 January, 2020 | Dubai

#462 Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4

11 January, 2020 | Dubai
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