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Opening the containers_800pixCars and equipment have arrived at Dubai Autodrome, most drivers and team members are on their way and thus, everything is in place for the tenth anniversary edition of the Hankook 24H DUBAI from Thursday till Saturday this week (8-10 January). What started back in 2006 as a small initiative by two Dutch amateur racers in co-operation with Dubai Autodrome and the Dutch National Racing Team (DNRT) can be considered as one of the success stories in international motorsport. Within a decade, the Hankook 24H DUBAI is not only acknowledged as the first major endurance race of the new calendar year for GTs, touring cars and 24H Specials, but has also become firmly established as one of the classic 24-hour races. The tenth anniversary edition marks the start of a new era as the 2015 Hankook 24H DUBAI also serves as the season opener of the 2015 24H SERIES powered by Hankook, with full FIA International Series status for the first time. A record 95 cars with over 400 drivers will be on the grid for this week’s race.

“We are delighted with this huge interest for our race,” says Gerrie Willems on behalf of CREVENTIC, the Dutch agency that serves as the organiser and promoter of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook in co-operation with the Dutch National Racing Team (DNRT). “It all started together with DNRT, a foundation of motorsport enthousiasts, and the management of Dubai Autodrome, and both have been among the key partners and instrumental in making this race a success. Once again, there is a good variety with touring cars and GT cars in the field and an excellent mix of drivers with many amateurs, gentlemen drivers, semi-professionals and even some pros. As usual, we expect the professionals to respect the amateur drivers and to adapt the philosophy of our event: affordable costs, a convivial atmosphere with teams and drivers from all over the world and fair competition on the track. These are the main characteristics, not only in Dubai, but for all rounds of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook, allowing all teams and drivers to enjoy the fascination of motorsport together.”

Finish 24H DUBAI 2014_800pix_The main contenders for overall honours are most likely to come from the A6 class, the playing field for GT3 cars. Here, last year’s Dubai race winners, Stadler Motorsport, are aiming at repeating their success, but the Swiss Porsche team will be facing strong opposition, among others from Abu Dhabi Racing Black Falcon, that won the Dubai race in 2012 and 2013 with its Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. In total, there will be twelve Mercedes-Benz gullwing race cars on the grid. AMG Customer Sports pool drivers Thomas Jäger, Bernd Schneider and Lance David Arnold will be racing, just like Jeroen Bleekemolen, the most successful driver in history of the Dubai race. Other interesting entries are the Scuderia Praha Ferrari 458 with the winning team of last year’s 24H BARCELONA, Swiss team Fach Auto Tech with a pair of Porsche 997 GT3 Rs, the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN with its Nissan GT-R GT3 and the V8 Racing Chevrolet Corvette that claimed pole for last year’s race in Dubai. The Porsche 997 class also promises great racing with no less than 18 Porsche Cup cars!

The SP2 class includes MARC Focus V8 and GC Automobile silhouette cars, a Maserati Gran Turismo and an Audi R8. The SP3 class is dominated by GT4 cars, including six Ginetta G50s. The CUP1 class for BMW M235i Cup cars will be competing in Dubai for the first time with an expected total of six cars. BMW is also the preferred brand in the A5 touring car class with five entries. The A3T class includes SEAT Leon Supercopa cars plus a Volkswagen and a BMW while the A2 class has a variety of touring cars with Honda, Mini, Peugeot, Renault, SEAT, Toyota and Volkswagen each represented by one or more teams.

Cars and equipment were shipped from all over the world to Dubai in a total of approximately 70 seafreight containers, 50 of which were loaded in the port of Rotterdam. Standard transport from Rotterdam to Dubai and back is included in the entry fee for the race and once again, the logistics were perfectly organised by CREVENTIC in co-operation with Eimskip. Premium tyre manufacturer Hankook will be the exclusive tyre partner for the event and will have some 7,000 tyres on site in Dubai. French watch manufacture, BRM is the official timing partner and provides high-quality watches for all the class winners in Dubai. SPAA05 is supplying LED displays that will be attached to the race cars and will show the position of each car in the race. Showtrax and Stand21 also are official partners of the event and are present with sales and service booths in the paddock at Dubai Autodrome. Motors TV will provide live coverage throughout the 24 hours of the race and the team of Radio Show Limited, well-known from Radio Le Mans, will be on-site for live commentary.

Paddock Hankook 24H DUBAI 2015_800pixThe usual activities on Wednesday, 7 January (rent-a-car rides, optional private tests and taxi rides) are followed by the official welcome party and barbecue in the paddock offered free of charge to all teams to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the race. The schedule for Thursday, 8 January, includes free practice sessions from 11.30 till 12.15 and 13.15 till 14.45 hrs, followed by qualifying from 15.00 till 17.30 hrs and night practice from 18.00 till 20.00 hrs. On Friday, 9 January, there is a warm-up from 10.30 till 11.00 hrs. The race starts at 14.00 hrs and ends on Saturday, 10 January, at the same time, followed by the official prize-giving ceremony (all indicated times are local for the UAE, CET is three hours earlier). More information about the Hankook 24H DUBAI and the other rounds of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook can be found at: www.24hseries.com.

Ben Potter

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