The race-contending Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS has retired from the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai with less than three hours to go, following gearbox failure for the new-generation GT3 car.
Connor De Phillippi, who took the German entry into the lead in the sixth hour, was forced to call it a race with two hours and 35 minutes remaining while running in a solid second position.
The car had built up a multi-lap lead overnight prior to it running out of fuel and losing nearly six laps, but rebounded until the mechanical issues developed.
“Since this morning, we already heard noises,” co-driver Christopher Mies told Radio Le Mans’ Joe Bradley. “The gearbox made noises.
“We lost 5th and 6th gears. Right now, the gearbox temperature raced up to 170 degrees, so it means we’re at the end.”
De Phillippi proved to be the star of the race, logging nearly eight hours in the car and dominating through the night-time hours.
The retirement for the No. 28 Audi has given the No. 19 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi a five-lap lead over the No. 16 Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, which runs in second.
The No. 26 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 is third but has been battling power issues for the last two hours.