Mercedes-AMG with class win and top ten result in Dubai 24-hour race

Mercedes-AMG with class win and top ten result in Dubai 24-hour race

12.01.2019: Mercedes-AMG has started the 2019 motorsport season in a successful way. In the Dubai 24-hour race, HTP Motorsport claims victory in the A6-AM class: with the #25 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Indy Dontje (NED), Alexander Hrachowina (AUT), Martin Konrad (AUT) and Ber

Mercedes-AMG has started the 2019 motorsport season in a successful way. In the Dubai 24-hour race, HTP Motorsport claims victory in the A6-AM class: with the #25 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Indy Dontje (NED), Alexander Hrachowina (AUT), Martin Konrad (AUT) and Bernd Schneider (GER) repeated Mercedes-AMG Motorsport’s class win from the previous year.

The quartet was classified seventh overall in the endurance racing classic. Also like last year, the GT4 category ended with third place for the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach.

•    Victory in the A6-AM class and top ten result with HTP Motorsport

•    Third place for QSR Racing School in the GT4 class

In ideal weather and track conditions, the Dubai 24-hour race marked the start of this year’s motorsport season for the teams with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT4. These included the #25 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Indy Dontje, Alexander Hrachowina, Martin Konrad and Bernd Schneider.

Having started from 13thon the grid, the quartet established itself in a position with a good perspective from the very beginning. After a little bit more than one third of the race distance, the team had the podium positions of the A6-AM class within reach and rewarded itself with its first turn in the class lead during the morning hours. With consistently fast lap times, they extended the lead until crossing the finish line. Together with the class win, final driver Dontje also secured a very good seventh-place finish in the overall classification with a total of 595 laps.

Last year’s race winners BLACK FALCON started the race with the goal of defending the title in the overall classification from sixth place on the grid at the 5.4 kilometres long track for the #2 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with drivers Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA), Saud Al Faisal (KSA), Yelmer Buurman (NED) and Hubert Haupt (GER). After a time penalty early in the race, the quartet lost some places. Its subsequent progress saw the four-time Dubai race winners make their comeback into the group of the frontrunners and the first kilometres in the lead were racked up after around ten hours.

Just after taking over the lead, the team had to take in its next setback: due to a repair break, several places were lost and the team finished 15thas a result.

The #3 Abu Dhabi Racing BLACK FALCON sister car was also on course for a podium finish for a large part of the race. In the battle for the overall lead, Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Ben Keating (USA), Manuel Metzger and Luca Stolz (both GER) had to park the car with 380 laps completed due to a technical failure.

The marathon in the desert did bring a podium success for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 that started its first official season at Dubai last year. Like in the debut year, there was a third place. For a large part of the race, the maiden GT4 victory in Dubai seemed to be on the cards. Just before the end of the race, however, Customer Racing Team ERC SPORT retired from the lead. The QSR Racing School Team, also in contention for the lead, lost second place due to a pit stop in the final minutes, but still managed to secure third place in class for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport.

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “We could only partly achieve our goal of defending the title. In the overall classification, both BLACK FALCON cars were doing very well in the race for a long time, but then had a lot of bad luck. I am all the more happy with the A6-AM success by HTP Motorsport that repeated the class win for SPS automotive-performance from the previous year. Congratulations also to the entire team that put in a faultless performance here. The achievements of the Customer Racing Teams with the Mercedes-AMG GT4 were enjoyable, too: we had the class win within reach, but then had to make do with third place. It was a race with highs and lows that we have to analyse exactly. There is a lot of work to do, but we are confident for a successful 2019 motorsport year.”

Bernd Schneider, HTP Motorsport #25: “The race wasn’t easy at all. During the night, many things happened on track. We had a completely different strategy than all the others. As a result, things didn’t look good for us early on. Towards the end, however, we were incredibly strong and I think that we deserved the win. This time, luck was on our side, we didn’t have any technical problems at all.”

Indy Dontje, HTP Motorsport #25: “Third last year, victory this year, just super! We had a difficult race, some bad luck with the code-60 phases, but fortunately, everything worked out in the end.”

Adam Christodoulou, BLACK FALCON #2: “From the beginning, we were having some bad luck with the code-60s, we almost lost three laps in the first two hours of the race. After a few hours, however, we managed to work our way back up into the top three and then take the lead. That shows that the speed was there and the strategies were right. After that, however, we had bad luck again and we dropped back. We continued to score points for the championship, that was important for the season. After this unfortunate race, however, we will come back strongly.”

Manuel Metzger, Abu Dhabi BLACK FALCON #3: “Until our retirement, it went very well. After the opening stage that was very difficult for us with many missed opportunities and bad luck with the code-60s, we were competitive again and we were in contention for victory. Too bad that we have our third retirement in the third year with this line-up. But that is motorsport for you. I reckon that we will be out to compete again next year in order to finally deal with this jinx.”

Result Dubai 24 Hours *:

1.    1.    88
A6-PRO    Audi R8 LMS (2019)    Car Collection Motorsport    Dimitri Parhofer (GER), Christopher Haase (GER), Frederic Vervisch (BEL), Rik Breukers (NED)

2.    2.    7
A6-PRO    Audi R8 LMS (2019)    MS7 by WRT    Mohammed Saud Fahad Al Saud (KSA), Michael Vergers (NED), Christopher Mies (GER), Dries Vanthoor (BEL)

3.    3.    11
A6-PRO    Ferrari 488 GT3    Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha    Jiří Písařík (CZE), Josef Kral (CZE), Matteo Malucelli (ITA


7.    1.    25
A6-AM    Mercedes-AMG GT3    HTP Motorsport    Indy Dontje (NED), Alexander Hrachowina (AUT), Martin Konrad (AUT), Bernd Schneider (GER)

13.    7.    85
A6-AM    Mercedes-AMG GT3    CP Racing    Charles Espenlaub (USA), Joe Foster (USA), Shane Lewis (USA), Charles Putman (USA)

15.    7.    2
A6-PRO    Mercedes-AMG GT3    BLACK FALCON    Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA), Saud Al Faisal (KSA), Yelmer Buurman (NED), Hubert Haupt (GER)

24.    3.    454
GT4    Mercedes-AMG GT4    QSR Racing School    Jimmy de Breucker (BEL), Rodrigue Gillion (BEL), Mario Timmers (BEL), Nico Verdonck (BEL), Michiel Verhaeren (BEL)

39.     9.    405
GT4    Mercedes-AMG GT4    ERC SPORT    Katarina Kyvalova (SVK), John Minshaw (GBR), Gabriele Piana (ITA), Ryan Ratcliffe (GBR)

44.    10.    462
GT4    Mercedes-AMG GT4    Ciceley Motorsport    Frank Bird (GBR), Ben Paliwoda (USA), Derek Pierce (GBR), Jordan Witt (GBR)

51.     11.    488
GT4    Mercedes-AMG GT4    Dragon Racing    Saeed Al Mehairi (UAE), Rob Barff (GBR), Greg Caton (GBR), Phil Quaife (GBR), Josh Webster (GBR)

54.     10.     3
A6-PRO    Mercedes-AMG GT3    Abu Dhabi Racing BLACK FALCON    Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Ben Keating (USA), Manuel Metzger (GER), Luca Stolz (GER)

     DNC    10
A6-AM    Mercedes-AMG GT3    Hofor Racing    Christiaan Frankenhout (NED), Kenneth Heyer (GER), Michael Kroll (SUI), Alexander Prinz (GER), Chantal Prinz (SUI)

DNC    DNC    19
A6-AM    Mercedes-AMG GT3    MP Motorsport    Bert de Heus (NED), Daniel de Jong (NED), Henk de Jong (NED)

* excerpt subject to confirmation by the organisers


Jochen Übler, photos Mercedes


12.01.2019 / MaP

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