GPX Racing held a six-minute lead at the halfway point of the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai whilst Audi driver Dries Vanthoor moved Team WRT up to second position overall.
The No. 36 GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Julien Andlauer, Mathieu Jaminet, Axcil Jefferies, Frederic Fatien and Alain Ferte has been in charge of the 24H Series curtain-raiser since hour two, while its advantage stood at three laps after 12 hours of running.
GPX Racing’s pro drivers Andlauer, Jaminet and Jefferies have carried out the majority of the stints for the United Arab Emirates-flagged, Barcelona-based squad.
Andlauer was at the wheel of the leading Porsche as the race transitioned into its second half, with Team WRT’s Kelvin van der Linde trying to minimize the three-lap buffer.
The No. 31 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo that van der Linde shares with Vanthoor, Benjamin Goethe, Frank Bird and Louis Machiels started from 10th on the grid but has since climbed to second after a strong opening.
Vanthoor was running fourth behind Haupt Racing Team’s No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo and GRT Grasser Racing’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo until late in the tenth hour when the seventh Code 60 caution period of the race was called.
During the stoppage – which consumed three-quarters of an hour while a stranded TCE Audi was retrieved and other track maintenance took place – GRT Grasser served a 42-second penalty for a pit lane speeding infringement that moved WRT up to third.
Vanthoor then tore into the gap to HRT’s Mercedes-AMG before passing Ryan Ratcliffe for second place in the 12th hour.
At halfway, Maro Engel was strapped into the Bilstein-liveried Mercedes and working to reduce a 14-second difference to van der Linde up the road.
Mirko Bortolotti was about a minute further back for GRT Grasser following the Lamborghini team’s penalty, while Dinamic Motorsport’s Porsche was running fifth.
The highest-placed GT3-Am class car was the No. 5 HRT machine in sixth overall and eight minutes adrift of the Dinamic entry.
ST Racing’s BMW M4 GT4 controlled the opening half of the race in GT4, with Nick Wittmer holding a three-lap advantage over the second-placed PROsport Aston Martin.
Swiss outfit TOPCAR Sport led the TCE division at halfway with its Cupra TCR DSG.