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Dubai Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from Dubai Autodrome following qualifying for 24H Dubai…

Photo: Creventic/24H Series

***A total of 81 cars are set to take part in the Hankook 24H Dubai following the publication of the official entry list on Thursday morning. The No. 91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R is still listed but has been withdrawn following Daniel Allemann’s massive accident on Wednesday.

***The No. 199 AC Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS TCR has also been a withdrawal from the event after a separate accident on Wednesday although never made the final entry list.

***Work continued on the No. 451 Team Avia Sorg Rennsport BMW M4 GT4 into the evening following an accident in Free Practice. It was the only car not to set a time in night practice.

***Jos Verstappen is no longer part of the driver lineup in the No. 933 Team GP-Elite Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in 992 Pro, with Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland champion Larry ten Voorde serving as a last-minute call-up. A reason for Verstappen’s absence has not been disclosed.

***Phil Quaife has landed a late drive in the No. 85 CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in GT3 Am, replacing Joe Foster, who hurt his ankle and will be unable to race. The team, featuring Americans Charlie Putman, Charles Espenlaub and Shane Lewis, qualified on class pole.

***Christophe Bouchut scored his 100th career pole on Thursday at the wheel of Les Deux Arbres’ Ligier JS2 R. Bouchut has replaced Jacques Nicolet in the lineup that also features Larbre Competition team boss Jack Leconte.

***Lawrence Tomlinson is another team principal that’s returned to the wheel this weekend, with the Team LNT/Ginetta chairman helping give the Ginetta G56 GT4 its 24-hour race debut. Tomlinson is teaming up with Colin White, Mike Simpson and former IndyCar driver James Jakes in the entry.

***Creventic will present a new trophy to the overall winners of the 24H Dubai on Saturday. All previous overall winners’ names are engraved in the large wooden trophy, which arrived at the circuit on Thursday and was on display during the post-qualifying press conference.

***Despite being confined to his hotel room after testing positive for COVID-19, Michael Vergers is “part engineering” the No. 7 MS7 by WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo remotely according to Christopher Mies, who helped put the car on overall pole.

***WRT announced on Thursday that nine-time Grand Prix motorcycle champion Valentino Rossi will embark on a full season Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS with the Belgian squad this year. Rossi was due to contest last weekend’s Gulf 12 Hours in a Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 but was ruled out after coming in contact with a person that tested positive for COVID-19.

***All GT3-spec Audis are running in Evo trim this weekend, with no teams currently utilizing the Evo II specification that is slated for a full customer rollout this year. Audi undertook multiple test races, including several 24H Series events last year with customer teams running the Evo II package.

***Benji Goethe is pulling double duty this weekend, driving the No. 31 WRT Audi and also being part of a unique father and double-son lineup in the No. 408 Dragon Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 with his father Roald, younger brother Oliver and longtime driver coach Stuart Hall.

***SunEnergy1 Racing has yet to finalize the team it will be working with in the Rolex 24 at Daytona according to lead engineer Markus Rohrich, who has been charged with running Kenny Habul’s various programs over the last five years.

***Habul is making his 24H Dubai debut this weekend in a SPS Automotive Performance-prepared Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo alongside Mikael Grenier and Mercedes-AMG factory drivers Maro Engel and Jules Gounon.

***Full coverage of the Hankook 24H Dubai will be available on the 24H Series YouTube page, with the race getting underway Friday at 3 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET). Coverage is being anchored by Radio Show Limited’s John Hindhaugh and company. 

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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