Overall TCE Teams’ runner-up AC Motorsport has registered two Audi RS 3 LMS’ for the Hankook 24H DUBAI, and is looking to start 2022 with its second TCE win at the event.
AC Motorsport already has its sights set on overall TCE victory at the Hankook 24H DUBAI following its strongest season in the 24H SERIES to-date.
The Belgian squad took its second TCE win in the 24H SERIES at the season finale at Sebring, almost two years after securing its first, ironically, in Dubai at the rain-shortened event in 2020. Victory at the Hankook 24H SEBRING, plus podiums at four further events – two of which the #188 Audi RS 3 LMS came close to winning – meant AC Motorsport finished 2nd in the Overall TCE Teams’ standings, splitting the Volkswagen Golf GTIs of reigning champion Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing.
In an effort to maintain this momentum, Heading into the 2022 Hankook 24H DUBAI, AC Motorsport will enter two Audi RS 3 LMS’ for only the second time in its 24H SERIES run, both of which will boast, what the team calls, “a line-up that emphasizes experience and performance."
“At Sebring, we took another step forward by managing to optimize the brakes of the [Audi] RS 3 LMS TCR, which is sure to give the pilots even more confidence,” explains team patriarch Stéphane Perrin. “Of course, we will have to take stock of the new sporting rules that will come into force, especially during qualifying and neutralization, but optimism is clearly in order.”
Perrin will team with once again with long-time teammate, and TCR Benelux race winner, Mathieu Detry in the #188 Audi RS 3, with the duo set to be joined by Stéphane Lémeret and, interestingly, Yannick Mettler. 2016 TCR Benelux champion Lémeret finished 2nd in GT4 with PROsport Racing at last year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI, while Mettler won the Overall TCE Drivers’ crown in 2019, and has secured each of his class wins in the 24H SERIES with long-time AC Motorsport rival, Autorama Motorsport. Dubai 2022 marks the first time that Mettler and AC Motorsport will compete together.
Across in the sister #199, Olivier Baron and Bradley Scorer will team with 24H SERIES debutants, Jurgen van den Broeck and Ivars Vallers. Interestingly, both Baron and Scorer have both taken class podiums with CWS Engineering in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
“Besides my usual team-mate Mathieu Detry,” Perrin continues, “the #188 Audi will be driven by Stéphane Lémeret… and Yannick Mettler, a Swiss driver ‘defector’ from the Autorama clan! We already have a lot of strength in our game.
“Stéphane Lémeret is keen to add a victory at the [Hankook] 24H DUBAI to his impressive record, while Yannick Mettler's speed is comparable to that of Mathieu Detry. We have all won at least one 24-hour race already, and the objective will clearly be to go up the pitlane on the back of a camel on Saturday afternoon!" The latter is a reference to the Hankook 24H DUBAI’s podium celebration, which starts with a camel ride down pitroad.
The AC Motorsport Audis are two of the nine entries already registered for the TCR class at the Hankook 24H DUBAI. Newly crowned Overall TCR Teams’ champion Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing wil contest the event with its two tenured Volkswagen Golf GTIs, which will be joined for the first time by the team’s brand new, second generation Audi RS 3 LMS.
Alongside the debuting PPM, Holmgaard Motorsport is set to make its first 24H SERIES start since Barcelona in 2019. Zengő Motorsport meanwhile returns to the Hankook 24H DUBAI for the ninth time.
- Images – Petr Frýba