GPX Racing emerged out of the night with its six-minute halfway lead cut to just over a minute with five hours to go in the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai.
The No. 36 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Julien Andlauer, Mathieu Jaminet, Axcil Jefferies, Frederic Fatien, and Alain Ferte continues to run faultlessly at the front of the 24H Series season-opener.
At the end of the 19th hour, GPX was a minute and 20 seconds clear of its nearest competitor with Jefferies at the wheel, the smallest the lead has been since the early stages.
Running in second is Maro Engel aboard Haupt Racing Team’s No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, who took over from Khaled Al Qubaisi as the German squad cut into the leader’s margin.
Positions second through to fourth remained in close contention as the field chased down the leading GPX Porsche.
WRT held onto the final podium position courtesy of Frank Bird in the No. 31 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, having made it up to second before settling behind the Bilstein-liveried Mercedes.
The No. 63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo lost a significant chunk of time serving a penalty for overtaking under a Code 60.
Rolf Ineichen briefly put the car up into second position with an on-track pass on Al Qubaisi’s HRT Mercedes-AMG, but later dropped down the order.
Adrian Amstutz served the GRT car’s 60-second infringement in the 19th hour, but because Ineichen’s move was also done so under a Code 60, the regulations stated the penalty doubled to 120-seconds.
The GRT Lamborghini runs fourth, three laps off the leader.
HRT Abu Dhabi Racing’s No. 5 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo completes the top five and is the best-placed GT3-Am class car, but is more than 15-minutes adrift.
Meanwhile, fellow GT3-Am class entry Dinamic Motorsport lost 20-minutes in the garage after Mauro Calamia brought the car into the pits in Hour 18.
The race has been disrupted by numerous Code 60 interventions, the longest of which lasted more than an hour.
In the early stages of the 16th hour the TCE class No. 154 QSR Racing Audi RS3 LMS DSG stopped on track, however, the race was neutralized for more than an hour due to a race control “safety issue”.
ST Racing’s BMW M4 GT4 holds strong at the head of the GT4 field, while the TCE division is led by TOPCAR Sport’s No. 131 Cupra TCR DSG.