Audi claims maiden victory at Gulf 12
Audi scored its first win in the nine-year history of the Gulf 12 Hours with a one-two finish for the Attempto Racing team and was joined on the podium by Valentino Rossi and the #46 Monster VR46 Kessel Racing car at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
Having begun the second part of the race with a front row lockout, the Attempto Audi R8 GT3 fell on to a large slice of luck. When it was handed an early Stop and Go penalty for a pit stop infringement in the first part of the race, it was served as a safety car was called when the Iron Lynx all-female Ferrari 488 GT3 Pro driven by Michelle Gatting, collided with the Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 when attempting to lap driver David Holloway. The Ferrari suffered toe link failure to the rear left wheel, causing immediate retirement.
The Audi returned to the track in second place, only 12 seconds behind its sister car. From there on, the Audi pair switched positions before the #66 car pulled ahead, and even a five-second time penalty for gaining an advantage over the Art Line Team Georgia Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo GT Cup 1 class car, would not prevent it from taking a comfortable victory.
Behind the two Audi machines, the battle for third place heated up in the final hour. With the Dinamic Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R car out with broken steering, and the GPX Racing Porsche losing its opportunity with electrical problems in the final two hours, it left the door open for the #46 Monster VR46 Kessel and the Uwe Alzen Automotive Audi R8 GT3 Evo.
With Rossi taking the wheel of the car’s final stint from team-mate Luca Marini, it was handed a five-second penalty for gaining an earlier advantage. But Alzen in the car was unable to beat Rossi’s lap times and reduce the Italian’s 30-second advantage. Combined with a late drive-through penalty for Alzen for a pit stop served too late, it handed Rossi his first endurance car racing podium alongside team-mates Luca Marini and Alessio Salucci in a race of 316 total laps, a new record for the Gulf 12 Hours.