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Dubai Pre-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ pre-race notebook for Hankook 24H Dubai…

Photo: Brecht Decancq

Photo: Brecht Decancq

***The No. 16 sps automotive Mercedes-AMG GT3 topped warmup, with a best lap of 1:59.622 in the Valentin Pierburg, Tim Müller, Lance-David Arnold and Tom Onslow-Cole-driven A6-Pro entry. The No. 7 HB Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and No. 17 IDEC Sport Mercedes-AMG completed the top-three.

***A total of 69 cars turned laps in the 30-minute session, with a number of teams opting to sit out. No major incidents were reported. Click Here for the results.

***Ninety two cars are set for the start. Click Here for the final grid.

***Norbert Siedler arrived late Thursday, due to the death of his father. The Austrian driver turned his first laps in the HB Lamborghini in warmup and is set to team with Herbert Handlos, Sam Tordoff, Florian Spengler and Andrea Amici in the A6-Pro entry.

***Eric Tremoulet remains in the hospital following a weekend-ending accident for his No. 165 Team Clio Cup France Renault Clio Cup IV in Thursday’s Free Practice session. The Frenchman reportedly sustained multiple injuries, including fractured vertebrae and a punctured lung.

***The No. 25 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 returned to action in warmup following an extensive rebuild after Wim de Pundert’s accident on Thursday. Former FIA GT3 European Championship front-runner Brice Bosi, a mechanic on the German squad, has replaced Alexander Hrachowina in the lineup.

***The HTP Mercedes-AMG is one of eight A6 class cars that will compete in the Am class. A6-Am has since been subdivided into Am-Neutral and Am-Advantage. Am-Advantage teams are limited to 2:05 reference times, compared to 2:03 for Am-Neutral, with an additional fuel allowance for Advantage, but added weight for Neutral.

***Click Here for a full rundown of the A6 Pro/Am classes and the associated car-by-car BoP, which was released on Friday morning. Note that all A6-Pro class cars do not have a minimum reference lap time.

***This year’s race sees a number of notable absences at the front of the grid, namely Ferrari, with both race stalwarts Scuderia Praha and local squad Dragon Racing not taking part. The Czech team, which received a one-race suspension following Matteo Cressoni’s accident here last year, is believed to be finalizing a move to Ferrari Challenge.

***Ram Racing, which won the 2015 24H Series A6-Pro championship, is also not here, with the British squad not yet announcing any 2017 plans.

***The BMW M4 GT4, which is set for its competition debut today, is running in the SPX class for unhomologated cars. Schubert Motorsport is handling development of the car, with customer deliveries expected by the end of the year for 2018.

***HTP Motorsport will defend its overall Blancpain GT Series title with an expected three-car Mercedes-AMG GT3 effort in both the Sprint and Endurance Cups. A return to the Nürburgring 24 is also confirmed, alongside a possible effort in ADAC GT Masters.

***Luca Engstler, the 16-year-old son of touring car legend Franz, claimed victory in his TCR debut in the inaugural TCR Middle East race on Friday morning. American driver Brandon Gdvoic top top honors in Race 2.

***IMSA Performance driver Raymond Narac has opened a Porsche Classic Center alongside his dealership in Rouen, France. It is only the second Classic Center to open, following the launch of a PCC in The Netherlands in 2015.

***Watch the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai on the series’ official Web site, with lights-to-flag coverage of the race, which begins today at 2 p.m. local (5 a.m. ET). Full 24-hour coverage will also be available on

Rene de Boer and Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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