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Gulf 12H

Kessel Racing Wins After Leading McLaren Hits Trouble

Kessel Ferrari wins at Yas Marina after issues for the leading McLaren 720S GT3…

Photo: MPS Agency

Alessandro Pier Guidi, Davide Rigon and Michael Broniszewski won the Gulf 12 Hours after benefiting from an issue on the leading McLaren 720S GT3.

A front-right suspension malfunction with less than two hours to go forced the McLaren Customer Racing entry to make an unscheduled stop that lasted 13 minutes, dashing its chances of a debut win.

The lengthy pit call promoted the No. 11 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 into the lead, with factory driver Rigon bringing the car home to secure the team’s fourth straight victory in the Abu Dhabi enduro.

Up to that point, the McLaren had led almost all of the second half, following Shane van Gisbergen’s bold move around the outside of Christopher Haase in the Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 at the six-hour restart.

Haase was then overtaken by Pier Guidi, while Van Gisbergen stretched out the McLaren’s advantage into the dark hours.

Rigon finished 27 seconds clear of the Car Collection Audi that Haase shared with Markus Winkelhock and Dimitri Parhofer, while Sean Walkinshaw brought the No. 44 Attempto Racing Audi home in third.

Haase overtook Walkinshaw’s co-driver Giorgio Roda in the eleventh hour to end a race-long battle between the top Audis.

Car Collection and Attempto spent much of the race in competition with the No. 99 Attempto Audi of Klaus Bachler, Nick Foster and Stanislav Minsky, but that car retired when it hit mechanical trouble with three hours left.

A dominant run saw the Daiko Lazarus Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Miguel Ramos, Fabio Onidi and Nicola de Marco take Pro-Am class honors in fifth overall, behind the No. 97 Oman Racing Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3.

Jonny Adam, Darren Turner and Ahmad Al-Harthy were the first crew to finish off the lead lap, but their new-gen Aston ran untroubled on its customer debut.

The McLaren, which Van Gisbergen co-drove with Ben Barnicoat and Alvaro Parente, ended up eighth overall and four laps down on the leaders.

Victory in the GT4 class went to Bullitt Racing’s Mercedes-AMG GT4 driven by Olli Caldwell, Ian Loggie and Oleg Kharuk, while the best-placed LMP3 car was the No. 4 Graff Norma M30 Nissan in ninth.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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