G-Drive Wins Race 2 to Sweep Dubai Double-Header

Photo: Asian LMS

Ferdinand Habsburg, Yifei Ye and Rene Binder completed a sweep of the Asian Le Mans Series double-header meeting at Dubai Autodrome by winning Sunday’s four-hour race.

After dominating race one on Saturday, the drivers of the No. 26 Aurus 01 Gibson put together a similarly watertight display to lead home a one-two result for G-Drive Racing.

Ye took the checkered flag 45.459 seconds clear of Franco Colapinto who shared the pole-sitting No. 25 Oreca-based Aurus LMP2 with John Falb and Rui Andrade.

Colapinto extended his margin back to Phoenix Racing’s Nicki Thiim over the last two stints to finish 14 seconds ahead of the FIA World Endurance GT champion, who teamed up with Matthias Kaiser and Simon Trummer in the No. 5 Oreca 07 Gibson.

The two G-Drive cars ran first and second off the front row of the grid, with Falb initially leading Binder before the No. 26 driver got ahead approaching the day’s first Full Course Yellow period, which was caused by debris from a clattered trackside marker.

After the restart, Falb dropped behind Trummer, JOTA’s Sean Gelael and Arjun Maini from Racing Team India, while Binder took control at the head of the field.

Gelael then passed Trummer for second at Turn 13 while Maini progressed to third shortly after.

JOTA’s presence in the podium fight disappeared in hour one when Gelael got caught up in an incident involving a handful of cars trying to avoid Phoenix Racing’s LMP3 Ligier, which had become stranded on the inside curb at Turn 6 to prompt another FCY.

JOTA’s strife advanced Racing Team India’s Oreca to second behind the leading G-Drive, however that position had gone back to Phoenix by the halfway mark.

At the same time, G-Drive’s No. 25 Aurus was closing in on Phoenix and Racing Team India, and in the early stages of hour three Andrade had moved past both entries.

By the end of the third hour, Habsburg had extended the No. 26 G-Drive car’s lead to around a minute and 20 seconds, but this came down to under a minute once a drive-through for using track limits to overtake was served.

Ye observed the sanction not long after taking over from Habsburg, and maintained his car’s reduced advantage through to the checkered flag.

Behind the two G-Drive machines and Phoenix finished Racing Team India’s car, which Narain Karthikeyan brought to the line one lap down on the winner.

Era Motorsport claimed LMP2 Am honors for the second race in a row after its only category rival Eurointernational retired.

The LMP3 class also produced a one-two result for a team as United Autosports drivers Wayne Boyd, Manuel Maldonado and Rory Penttinen claimed their second straight win.

DKR Engineering had been out front until the final half-hour when Laurents Hoerr was forced to bring the field’s only Duqueine D08 Nissan in for a pit stop that promoted reigning European Le Mans Series champion Boyd to the lead of the race.

Hoerr’s co-driver Jean Glorieux filtered back into fourth place, while Boyd went on to win by 1m 16s from Andy Meyrick in the sister No. 2 United Ligier JS P320 Nissan.

Matt Bell and Rodrigo Sales completed the class podium for Nielsen Racing, while less than four seconds separated Meyrick, Bell and Glorieux at the end.

GPX Bounces Back from Saturday Misfortune

Class honors in GT went to Porsche outfit GPX Racing, which made up for its dramatic relinquishing of a clear lead in the closing moments of race one.

Julien Andlauer, Axcil Jefferies and Alain Ferte again featured extensively at the sharp end of the 19-car field, but this time managed to capture the win with a different driver strategy that saw Bronze pilot Ferte run the middle stint before switching to Andlauer.

It also prevailed despite the Porsche 911 GT3 Rs contesting race two with a 20 kg weight increase courtesy of a Balance of Performance between rounds.

Ferte held a half-minute lead coming into the second half, but Rino Mastronardi closed to within three seconds at the wheel of Rinaldi Racing’s No. 55 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020.

This gave Mastronardi’s co-driver Davide Rigon an opening to challenge Andlauer, but the Frenchman drew clear over the final leg to establish a 24-second victory margin.

Mastronardi and Rigon shared the Rinaldi car with David Perel, who made up several positions in the opening stages after starting from the back row of the grid.

The final podium spot went to Garage 59’s Aston Martin crew of Maxime Martin, Valentin Hasse-Clot and Alexander West.

Martin came out best in a multi-car battle in the closing laps against Raffaele Marciello and Ralf Bohn in the race one-winning Herberth Motorsport Porsche.

Both Martin and Marciello, who was in the Hub Auto Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, got past Bohn on the final tour.

Ben Barnicoat then came through in sixth, just 0.07 seconds behind Bohn in Inception Racing by Optimum’s McLaren 720S GT3.

A notable retirement due to damage sustained in contact with another car was the No. 34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, which finished on the race one podium.

The 2020-21 Asian Le Mans Series campaign concludes next weekend with another double-header fixture at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

RESULTS: 4H Dubai Race 2

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