Father-son duo Ivo and Luc Breukers, alongside teammate Yusif Bassil, had enjoyed a close fight for the overall lead with the Zengő Motorsport CUPRA TCR DSG (#10, Tamás Horváth / Gábor Kismarty-Lechner), which led outright for 30 laps, and its sister #8 entry (Zoltán Zengő / Csaba Tóth) as the race neared its halfway point.
Fuel issues would cost both Zengő Motorsport cars time in the pitlane though, a delay that ultimately allowed the Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA to pull ahead and remain unchallenged to the chequered flag. The Dutch team completed 103 laps of the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome in the process.
This is the second consecutive TCR-class win for Red Camel-Jordans.nl, and the first outright victory of the 24H Middle East Championship for the reigning 24H Series TCR-class European Champions.
Luc Breukers said: “This is a great result. We knew there was going to be strong competition from Zengő in this race, but unfortunately their strategy didn’t work out too well for them. That’s a pity, but obviously we’re very happy to have taken another win. We’ve had a lot of fun at all of these races. It’s been awesome.”
Despite their early problems, both Zengő Motorsport cars recovered to complete the overall podium, the #10 CUPRA just pipping the #8 entry. Delays aside, the result is a notable achievement for the World Touring Car Cup stalwarts, which started the weekend with a full engine change following drivetrain problems last time out in Abu Dhabi.
Zengő Motorsport’s Tamás Tenke, who also competed in the earlier TCR Middle East Series races at the Autodrome said: “We’ve had a few problems this weekend, but that’s motorsport. You just have to focus on the next weekend. I’ve learnt so much from this championship and even though this isn’t the result we were hoping for, we’ve really enjoyed racing here. Hopefully, after I’ve spoken with Zoltán, I can be back in the car for more 24H Series races this year.”
The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic FK7 TCR meanwhile (#77, René Münnich / Luc Breukers) finished 4th overall, the 2012 FIA GT1 World Champions and former World Touring Car Cup race winners having already sealed the 2019 TCR Middle East Series Teams’ championship earlier today, as well as the Drivers’ title for team patriarch Rene Munnich.
With the inaugural 24H Middle East championship now completed, the 24H Series powered by Hankook now heads to the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello in Italy for round one of the 2019 European Championship on 29-30 March.
This year’s Hankook 12H MUGELLO, which returns to the calendar after a one-year hiatus, is the first of a five-round championship schedule that includes Spa-Francorchamps, Brno and Portimão before the final round of the European leg takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain on 30-31 August / 1 September.
Creventic’s endurance racing programme in 2019 concludes with the third annual Hankook 24H COTA USA at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on 15-16-17 November.By Melissa Warren