The Simpson Motorsport Ginetta G57 (#6, Mike Simpson / John Corbett / Neale Muston / Jordan Sanders) has won the opening race of the 2018 Hankook 3X3H DUBAI, re-taking the lead from the Graff Ligier JS P3 (#44, Michal Broniszewski / Giacomo Piccini) on the penultimate lap.
Having taken pole position earlier that afternoon, the Simpson Motorsport Ginetta would make a slow start to the race – losing it lead in the process – and time on-track after its first pit stop, allowing the Graff Ligier to hit the front. A late charge though meant it was Jordan Sanders rather than Michal Broniszewski who crossed the line first after 82 laps of the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome. Graff would at least walk away with P3 class victory.
Early contenders for victory also included the Speedworks Motorsport Ligier JS P3 (#22, Jack Butel / Kay van Berlo / Konstantin Gugkaev) only for engine woes to scupper its process. The British-based Ligier was running comfortably at the front before a broken driveshaft brought it’s run to a screeching halt. Simpson Motorsport would suffer a similar setback with its second Ginetta entry (#4, Steve Tandy / Simon Murray), which was officially retired shortly before qualifying with a broken chassis.
The SPIRIT OF RACE Ligier JS P3 (#48, Piergiuseppe Perazzini / Kriton Lendoudis / Marco Cioci / Rui Aguas) would finish 2nd in the P3 class and 5th overall, albeit half a dozen laps further back after issues for Greek driver Lendoudis saw the Ligier swap ends several times on-track before drawing to a halt completely for several minutes at half-distance.
Issues for both P3 entries therefore meant the CN1-winning Krafft Racing Norma M20 FC (#98, Daniel Kirmann / François Kirmann / Marc Vives) completed the podium, cementing the team a second prototype victory in Dubai after last year’s ‘exhibition’ races. The sister entry (#97, Max Bortolami / David Cristini / Régis Tref) would finish its race, without power, on the main straight, but would still be classified 6th.
The event’s home-town entrants – the AUH Motorsport Radical SR3 RSX (#177, Salem Al Nusif / Mohammed Al Nusif / Mohammed Al Hassawi) finished 4th overall, a solid effort given that none of its three-drivers had raced hour-long stints before this weekend.
Photo credit: Petr Frýba and Boost Racing Images