With a fastest lap time of 1:59.104 minutes, Dutch driver Jeroen Bleekemolen put the Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 with starting number 1 on pole position for the Dunlop 24H DUBAI. Bleekemolen is sharing the car with Brit Sean Edwards and Khaled Al Qubaisi from Abu Dhabi, the two drivers he already teamed up with to win the Dunlop 24H DUBAI last year. For the 2013 race, the three are joined by German stalwart Bernd Schneider, a five times’ DTM champion. The Attempto Racing-Porsche (#26, Ivo Breukers/Kévin Estre/Nicki Thiim/G. Angel Benitez/Henry Hassid) qualified second, the Craft Racing AMR-Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (#15, Frank Yu/Tomonobu Fuijii/Darren Turner/Darryl O’Young/Stefan Mücke) ended up third, followed by the two Saudi Falcons Team Schubert-BMW Z4 GT3s (#24, Abdulaziz Al Faisal/Faisal Binladen/Jörg Müller/Claudia Hürtgen/Dirk Müller and #12, Abdulaziz Al Faisal/Faisal Binladen/Dominik Baumann/Dominik Schwager/Dirk Adorf).
Claiming pole position was a great reward for the Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon for the immense effort that the team members put in after their original car was seriously damaged during a crash in testing on Wednesday. The team acquired a replacement chassis from the British Preci-Spark outfit that had brought a spare car to Dubai for testing purposes and the Black Falcon mechanics worked all night to convert that car from its sprint configuration to make it suitable for a 24-hour race. “They put the engine, the gearbox, the fuel tank, the suspension and many other parts from our original car in and really did an amazing job, because the car felt great,” said Jeroen Bleekemolen. “The fact that I was able to claim pole on what was only my third lap of the weekend at the Dubai Autodrome is almost unbelievable.” With one Mercedes-Benz, one Porsche, one Aston Martin, two BMWs, two McLarens, two Ferraris and one Lamborghini in the top ten, the first five rows of the starting grid for the race shows a great mix of GT3 machinery.
Adding to the Black Falcon team’s success, the Black Falcon Team TMD Friction-Porsche 997 Cup (#44, Christian von Rieff/Chistian Raubach/Burkard Kaiser/Erwin Stückle/Patrick Huisman) qualified on pole for the 997 class. The fastest SP2 car in qualifying was the Besaplast Racing-Audi TT RS (#89, Franjo Kovac/Martin Tschornia/Fredrik Lestrup/Wolfgang Kaufmann/Roland Asch).
RJN Motorsport’s two Nissan 370Z cars with the winners of the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy competitions locked out the first two positions in the SP3 class. Spaniard Lucas Ordonez, the winner of the initial Nissan PlayStation GT Academy competition in 2008, was fastest in class with the number 127 entry (Lucas Ordonez/Wolfgang Reip/Mark Schulzhitskiy/Steve Doherty/Roman Rusinov) with a time of 2:09.020 minutes, immediately followed by the sister car minutes (# 147, Sabine Schmitz/Peter Pyzera/Mark Schulzhitskiy/Steve Doherty/Alex Buncombe), driven by Alex Buncombe to a time of 2:09.651 minutes.
Fastest A3T car was the Allinkl.com-SEAT Leon Supercopa, driven by reigning FIA GT1 World Champion Marc Basseng, with a time of 2:14.405 (# 38, René Münnich/Marc Basseng/Markus Winkelhock), just ahead of the all-female Dutch ‘Racing Divas’ line up in the Schubert Motorsport-run #121 BMW 320D (Liesette Braams/Sheila Verschuur/Gaby Uljee/Paulien Zwart/Sandra van der Sloot).
Dutch team JR Motorsport were pace-setters in A5 with their BMW E46 GTR (#63, Pieter van Soelen/Harry Hilders/Koen Bogaerts/Bas Schouten). The YMOR/Bas Koeten Racing-BMW Z3 M Coupé (#75, Martin van den Berge/Richard Budding/Simon Gras/Jaap van Lagen) was fastest in class A4 with a lap time of 2:14.951 minutes set by Simon Gras while German Thomas Tekaat claimed pole in class A2 for the #102 Besaplast MINI Cooper S (Franjo Kovac/Martin Tschornia/Fredrik Lestrup/Ralf Eisenreich/Thomas Tekaat). Fastest D1 car in qualifying was the #116 Red Camel-Jordans.nl SEAT Leon TDI (Kane Austin/Klaus Kresnik/Chris Gleeson/Toni Büeler/Ivo Breukers). By Melissa Warren