Just after 14.00 local time, His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum waved the flag of the United Arab Emirates to send off the field for the eighth running of the Dunlop 24H DUBAI.
Other dignitaries to watch the start of the event included Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of ACTUAE, the Emirates motorsport authority, and vice-president of the FIA, and Ali Fardan Al Fardan, chairman of the Dubai Autodrome. The numerous spectators at the Dubai Autodrome and watching the live footage on the internet and various TV channels all over the world got to see plenty of action in the opening hour.
Driving the Attempto Racing-Porsche 997 GT3 R (#26, Ivo Breukers/Kévin Estre/Nicki Thiim/Angel Benitez/Henry Hassid), Nicki Thiim took the lead as the race got underway and he was involved in nice battles and position changes with Jeroen Bleekemolen in the Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 (#1, Khaled Al Qubaisi/Bernd Schneider/Jeroen Bleekemolen/Sean Edwards) and Claudia Hürtgen in the Saudi Falcons Team BMW Z4 GT3 (#24, Abdulaziz Al Faisal/Faisal Binladen/Jörg Müller/Claudia Hürtgen/Dirk Müller). However, there was drama for leader Nicki Thiim within the first 30 minutes as a fuel line on his Attempto Racing-Porsche broke and set the rear of the car on fire. The fire could be extinguished quickly and the car made it back into the pits under its own steam, but the team dropped back considerably. Jeroen Bleekemolen stayed in the lead for the best part of the first hour that ended with a code 60 (maximum average speed of 60 kph for all cars) because of debris on the track. Most of the teams used that neutralisation to make their first pit stops for driver changes and refuelling.
Class leaders after one hour:
Overall and A6-Pro: #1 (Khaled Al Qubaisi/Bernd Schneider/Jeroen Bleekemolen/Sean Edwards)
A6-Am: #8 (Otto Klohs/Martin Ragginger/Carlo Lusser/Jens Richter)
997: #44 (Christian von Rieff/Christian Raubach/Burkard Kaiser/Erwin Stückle/Patrick Huisman)
SP2: #98 (Luc Braams/Duncan Huisman/Oliver Freymuth/Max Braams/J.J. Verheul)
SP3: #147 (Sabine Schmitz/Peter Pyzera/Mark Schulzhitskiy/Steve Doherty/Alex Buncombe)
A5: #63 (Pieter van Soelen/Harry Hilders/Koen Bogaerts/Bas Schouten)
A3T: #38 (René Münnich/Marc Basseng/Marcus Winkelhock)
A4: #75 (Martin van den Berge/Richard Budding/Simon Gras/Jaap van Lagen)
A2: #97 (Jens-Henrik Hansen/René Hagedorn/Jens-Erik Hansen)
D1: #116 (Kane Austin/Klaus Kresnik/Chris Gleeson/Toni Büeler/Ivo Breukers) By Melissa Warren