Ivan Bellarosa brought the PX-class prototype over the line to complete 102 laps of the 5.554km Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, and in the process, cemented the Italian team’s second consecutive win in the inaugural 24H Middle East championship.
The weekend got off to a good start when Bellarosa, a former Sports Prototypes Italian Champion with Avelon Formula, qualified the Wolf GB08 on pole position, memories of the small fire that affected the team’s race last weekend in Dubai all but forgotten.
A delighted Guglielmo Belotti said: “One of the most impressive things we did this weekend was our time in qualifying. It was quicker than we’ve managed at Yas Marina before, and we’re very proud of that.“
Having held off the pursuing pack into turn one, the Avelon Formula Wolf GB08 Tornado led throughout Creventic’s first-ever official event in the capital of the United Arab Emirates to take victory.
Belotti continued. ““In the race, the car was fantastic to drive. Perfectly balanced, and Ivan was a master during the last stint. The team has been great this weekend, my first two hours went with no problems at all, and the car has so much downforce, it’s just crazy.”
The Speed Lover Porsche 991-I Cup (#78, Yusif Bassil / Al Faisal Al Zubair)
finished 2nd overall and 1st of the SPX-class runners, despite earning a 10-second time penalty for not properly maintaining position on the formation lap.
The result is an impressive accomplishment for not only the reigning 24H Series SPX European Champions, which made its first start in the 24H Middle East Championship in Abu Dhabi, but also Al Zubair, who competed in, and won, the second Porsche GT3 Challenge Cup Middle East race of the weekend earlier on Saturday.
Al Zubair said: “Before this, the Challenge Cup was the only car I’ve ever raced, so that helped a lot. To win there and now to take a class win and finish 2nd overall here is a good result. The car felt great over the last few days and Yusif did a good job. So yeah, I’m very happy.”
Further back, the Red Camel-Jordans.nl Cupra TCR DSG (#101, Luc Breukers / Ivo Breukers) took its maiden TCR-class win of the 2019 24H Middle East Championship at the home of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The result marks the first TCR-class win for Luc Breukers, who came into the event with a four TCR Middle East Series podium finishes already under his belt. It is also the first event in which father-son pairing Ivo and Luc have competed in an endurance race together.
A jubilant Luc Breukers said: “This is the first race I’ve ever shared with my dad, so to take the win as well is awesome. I missed the re-fuelling area at one stage, so that cost us 40 seconds, but we drove fast, we had a good strategy, and it was really fun.“
The J W BIRD Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR (#21, Paul Dehadray / Kieran Griffin) finished an impressive 2nd in the TCR class on its 24H Middle East Championship debut, having set a personal fastest lap a full second quicker than the TCR race winners.
Paul Dehadray said: “It was a good run, all told. Our lap times were down in the heat of the afternoon, but as night fell and it got colder, the times started to come back to us. So we’re pretty pleased with 2nd place, and maybe we can go one better next time.”
The Zengő Motorsport CUPRA TCR DSG (#10, Zoltán Zengő / Csaba Tóth) meanwhile rounded out the TCR podium ahead of the sister #8 machine (Zoltán Zengő / Tamás Tenke). The latter entry took class victory last time out in Dubai but suffered problems during the race.
The 24H Middle East Championship concludes with the Hankook 4H DUBAI at the Dubai Autodrome on 7-8 February. By Melissa Warren