Dubai 24 Hours 2012 - 13.01.2012

Leeds-based United Autosports brought both its Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars – the only Audis on the packed grid - through for a hard-earned finish in Friday and Saturday’s tough Dunlop 24 Hours Dubai, both crews producing some of the fastest laps of the entire race.

 

In an event which attracted a massive 80-car entry, the scene was set for a high-profile 24 hour race in the hot and dry conditions. It even featured a late sandstorm which made working conditions for everyone at the Dubai Autodrome extremely challenging.

 

There were several manufacturer teams amongst the entry, including Mercedes and BMW, and many of the leading teams such as Ferrari's AF Corse and Lamborghini's Reiter Engineering. Bernd Schneider, racing for the Mercedes DTM team, and entries from the Lotus/Renault F1 team owners LUX and LOPEZ Racing, as well as a Saudi prince competing, indicated the high calibre of the event.

 

In the number 26 United Autosports car, Roger Wills (NZ) Matt Bell (UK), Mark Patterson (USA) and Frank Yu (HK) looked as if they were on course for an easy top 10 finish until their car was struck by mechanical gremlins at different times during the round the clock race.

 

On Thursday the car qualified a respectable 7th overall and lined up amongst the works teams for the start.

 

Despite a very promising start problems were afoot early on and the team’s progress was restricted. Problems in the final hour of the race meant Roger had to limp the car home over the line in “safe-mode” to 29th place overall.

 

Of the weekend Wills commented:

 

“The first 23 hours were great fun but the last hour was very frustrating with this electrical gremlin which kept cutting the power in the car and we just couldn't run at race pace. So we ended up spending a lot of time in the pits for the last hour and just going out and taking the flag at a reduced pace. The rest of it was fantastic and great fun. The car was brilliant but probably with too many issues. At one point I think we got up to about ninth but after that the race kept going away from us and once that happens it's hard to keep making time back. It was still a great weekend and just a shame it didn't run a bit better and get us the result.”


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