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Weekly Racing Roundup (2.11.19)

Reports from 24H Series Middle East and TCR Middle East finales, plus lots of news…

Photo: Creventic

Red Wins Shortened Hankook 4H Dubai

Red took victory in the final round of the inaugural 24H Series Middle East Championship on Thursday, a shortened enduro at Dubai Autodrome.

Originally set to be a ten-hour race to complete the three-round season, the finale was moved a day earlier to Thursday and shortened to four hours.

Four cars, all TCR machinery, took part, and the No. 101 Cupra TCR DSG of Ivo Breukers, Luc Breukers and Yusif Bassil claimed victory.

They enjoyed a close fight for the lead with the No. 10 Zengo Motorsport Cupra which led for 30 laps, and the team’s sister No. 8 entry.

Both Zengo cars later lost time in the pit lane with fuel issues, thus allowing Red to take a clear lead and remain unchallenged to the checkered flag with a lead of 13 laps after completing 103.

It was the Dutch team’s second consecutive TCR class win in the series but first overall, with the Avelon Formula prototype having claimed victory in the opening two rounds but not entering the finale.


Photo: Creventic

Muennich Wins TCR Middle East Crown After Dominant Season

Rene Muennich secured the TCR Middle East Series drivers’ title after completing a clean sweep of wins in the season finale at Dubai Autodrome on Thursday.

Driving a Honda Civic FK7 TCR, the ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport team owner won all six of this season’s races, held on three consecutive weekends at Dubai and Yas Marina Circuit.

“It’s a wonderful feeling!” Muennich said. “It’s great to win the title, we’ve had a lot of fun, and I’m a little disappointed it’s all over. But I really enjoyed this season, and hopefully we’ll be back next time. 

“We’ve also found out a lot about the Honda during the races, and worked a lot on setup. That’s going to be very helpful for this year’s WTCR. I’m very happy with our progress.”

Luc Breukers finished second in the standings after finishing on the podium at every race and looked set to beat Muennich to the final race win until an engine issue struck his Cupra.

RESULTS: Race 1; Race 2

News & Notes

***1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve will drive for Scuderia Baldini in the Italian GT Championship this season, behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GT3 carrying the number 27 made famous by his father Gilles. He is set to share driving duties with Giancarlo Fisichella and another driver, although this is still unconfirmed.

***A round at the Red Bull Ring has replaced the International GT Open’s scheduled event at the Hungaroring in July. The Austrian circuit will host the series for the first time since 2016 on July 13-14.

***Ligier Automotive has hired Olivier Jansonnie to assist chief executive Richard Tur in overseeing and managing its engineering and development projects. Jansonnie has 20 years of expereicne working with Peugeot Sport on its 908 LMP1, 3000 DKR and 208 WRX projects, as well as serving as BMW Motorsport’s head of chassis and aerodynamics development in DTM and GT racing.

***McLaren’s new 720S GT3 is set to make an appearance in the CAMS Australian GT Championship this year as part of a wide-scale rollout for the new car. While details of which teams will run the 720S GT3 in Australian GT haven’t been released, at least one is set to join the field.

***Schuetz Motorsport is set to enter a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in ADAC GT Masters with Marvin Dienst among the driver lineup. Schuetz hasn’t been present in the German series since running a Porsche 911 GT3 R in 2016.

***Nielsen Racing will enter a pair of LMP3 entries in the European Le Mans Series this season for Colin Noble and Tony Wells, and James Littlejohn and Nobuya Yamakana. The team’s announcement didn’t clarify which model of car Nielsen will run, although it is expected to be the Ligier JS P3 Nissan.

***Garett Grist will return to United Autosports as part of the Anglo-American team’s Michelin Le Mans Cup effort, partnering Rob Hodes in a Ligier JS P3 Nissan. The announcement is United’s first entry for the ELMS support series this season.

**Vincenzo Sospiri Racing will be present in the new GT Open Cup, which supports International GT Open, with a pair of Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeos.

***Jody Fannin has been confirmed at Walkenhorst Motorsport as part of the German outfit’s VLN program after an outing in the season finale last year. He will drive one of the team’s BMW M6 GT3s for the Nürburgring-based championship.

***The Chateau Elan and Conference Center at Sebring is currently undergoing rebranding and will begin operating as Seven – Sebring Raceway Hotel by next month. The new name will come in time for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 1000 Miles of Sebring races on March 13-17.

***Dr. Robert Hubbard, the inventor of the HANS device, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 75. His invention revolutionized safety in motorsports and has become mandatory in most top-level categories.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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