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Dubai Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Wednesday notebook from Hankook 24H Dubai…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Robert Kubica led the way in Wednesday’s Private Test session, taking the No. 29 Forch Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R to a quick time of 2:00.490. The No. 1 Hofor Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 and No. 2 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG completed the top-three overall.

***The 90-minute session was red-flagged early for a heavy accident by the No. 240 Fach Auto Tech Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport of Philipp Schnyder. The Swiss driver was extracted from the car and transferred to a hospital for further treatment.

***Creventic hosted the inaugural 3x3H Dubai races on Tuesday and Wednesday for the new-for-2017 24H Proto Series. The No. 12 Graff Racing Ligier JS P3 Nissan of Eric Trouillet, Franck Mattelli and Edward Lewis Brauner claimed victory on Tuesday, leading a 1-2 for Ligier.

***Wednesday’s pair of three-hour races saw the No. 54 Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G57 of  Adrian Barwick, Bradley Ellis, Kyle Masson and James French take top honors, with the No. 12 Graff Ligier repeating in Race 3. Prototype Challenge drivers Masson and French came directly from last weekend’s Roar Before the 24 at Daytona.

***The Proto Series, featuring entry-level prototype machinery including LMP3, CN and others, officially kicks off with a 12-hour enduro at Magny-Cours in April, followed by events in Misano (July), Paul Ricard (August) and Spa-Francorchamps (October).

***Nic Minassian has been a late addition to the No. 17 IDEC Sport Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, joining the originally all-gentlemen driver lineup of Alban Varutti and father-and-son Patrice and Paul Lafargue.

***This weekend’s race will see the competition debut of the new BMW M4 GT4 car. BMW factory drivers Jens Klingmann and Joerg Mueller will team up with Ricky Collard in the Schubert Motorsport-entered car, with customer deliveries expected for later this year.

***The Audi RS 3 LMS is also making its 24-hour race debut, with the TCR contender entered by Cadspeed Racing with Atech and featuring British drivers James Kaye and Julian Griffin. The car broke cover late last year in VLN competition.

***No fewer than 20 drivers are set to take part in both the 24H Dubai and the Rolex 24 at Daytona this month: Jeroen Bleekemolen, Christopher Mies, Sven Mueller, Luca Stolz, Marco Mapelli, Franz Konrad, Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart, Rolf Ineichen, Ezequiel Perez Companc, Marcel Fassler, Wolf Henzler, Santiago Creel, Tom Dyer Mathias Beche, Ian James, Jens Klingmann, Brett Sandberg, Brendon Hartley and Maro Engel.

***Three teams: Grasser Racing Team, Konrad Motorsport and Manthey Racing, meanwhile, are also pulling double duty between the two twice-around-the-clock enduros as well. Crew from all three squads flew directly from last weekend’s Roar Before the 24 to Dubai, and will make the trip back to the U.S. later this month for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener.

***Rik Breukers is the only driver pulling triple-duty this weekend, with the 18-year-old Dutchman taking part in the 24H Dubai in the No. 964 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3, the 24H Proto Series in the No. 56 Atech – DXB Ginetta G57, as well as the TCR Middle East Series in a Seat Leon.

***Craft-Bamboo team co-owner Frank Yu makes his debut in a GDL Racing Asia Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR. Yu told Sportscar365 that his team plans to run up to three of the GT4 cars in Asia this year for customers, alongside a returning Porsche 911 GT3 R effort, but has yet to decide on either GT Asia or the new-for-2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia. “It will depend on which will have the best grid,” he said.

***Yu has ruled out a Porsche 911 GT3 R program for the Blancpain GT Series, as originally planned, due to the team’s new effort in the new FRD LMP3 series. The Hong Kong driver said he could focus his driving efforts in GT4 only this year, due to the increasing rate of questionable Silver-rated drivers in GT3.

***The date for next year’s 24 Hours of Dubai has already been confirmed for Jan. 11-13, 2018.

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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