Audi Sport celebrates a “perfect weekend” at the 2022 Hankook 24H DUBAI as WRT secures a 1-2 finish for the Audi R8 LMS GT3, with MS7 by WRT banking the first event win for Saudi Arabia since 2018.
Head of Audi Sport customer racing Chris Reinke has praised customer team WRT for a “perfect weekend” at the 2022 Hankook 24H DUBAI, following the Belgian team’s overall 1-2 finish with Saudi Arabian outfit MS7.
MS7 by WRT qualified on outright pole position by just under three-tenths of second, with Christopher Mies going on to lead the opening seven laps before fellow front row starter Raffaele Marciello in the Abu Dhabi Racing by HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 moved ahead on lap eight. Ironically, though the #7 Audi R8 LMS would go on to lead 301 of the completed 596 laps around the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome, a succession of early Code 60 caution periods and mixed pit strategies among the frontrunners meant MS7 by WRT led for only limited periods on laps 54, 86 and 105, and between laps 118 and 120, before pressing home its advantage from lap 156 onwards.
Thereafter, MS7 would intermittently swap the lead with the sister WRT Audi R8 LMS (#31), the latter heading the field for a total of 210 laps en-route to 2nd place. Across both cars, WRT led all but 85 laps of the 2022 Hankook 24H DUBAI.
MS7’s victory marked the third win for Audi at the 24H SERIES season opener following WRT’s first win in 2016 under the ‘Belgian Audi Club Team WRT’ banner, and Car Collection Motorsport’s triumph in 2019. While Axcil Jefferies celebrated his second win on the trot in Dubai, Mohammed Bin Saud Al Saud also became the first Saudi Arabian driver to take victory since Abdulaziz Al Faisal’s second win in 2018. Bin Saud Al Saud had previously finished 2nd in 2019 and 3rd in 2020, both with WRT.
The pair were joined on the top step by first-time winners Mies, Thomas Neubauer, and Dries Vanthoor, the latter of whom also posted the overall fastest lap – a 1m 57.798s – during qualifying.
“After first and third place in our customers’ first victory six years ago and first and second place in 2019, we can now be pleased about another one-two victory by our customers,” Reinke explains in an official statement. “Congratulations to WRT Team Principal Vincent Vosse and his drivers. We also extend our thanks and congratulations to PK Carsport, Car Collection Motorsport and AC Motorsport, who completed a perfect weekend with their podium finishes.”
Interestingly, MS7 by WRT became only the fifth GT polesitter in 17 editions to take victory at the Hankook 24H DUBAI in the same year, and the first since Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon took pole position and the race victory in 2013 with its #1 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3. The remaining three are IMSA Performance Matmut (2010), VIP Pet Foods (2008), and Düller Motorsport (2006).
Audi Sport also celebrated GTX class victory for PK Carsport in Dubai, and additional class podium finishes for Car Collection Motorsport and AC Motorsport in GT3-AM and TCR respectively. Though Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing’s contention for victory was thwarted when the #116 Audi RS 3 LMS – driven by 2012 World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff – suffered broken clutch input shaft , the reigning Overall TCE Teams’ champion nevertheless returned to the track after 2.5 hours in the garage to secure 6th in TCR. Heavy accident damage, which left the R8 LMS GT4 with a significant hole down its right flank, meant Heide-Motorsport was the only customer Audi to officially retire from the 2022 Hankook 24H DUBAI.
- Images – Audi Sport