An exhilarating weekend of action closes 2016 motorsport activity at Yas Marina Circuit
The home of the FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX, Yas Marina Circuit, played host to a weekend of exhilarating on-track racing action with not one but three major motorsport competitions taking place across Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
With the sixth edition of the Gulf 12 Hours providing an air of endurance racing glamour, the weekend also saw the return of the Formula4 UAE championship as well as Yas Marina Circuit’s homegrown, single-make grassroots championship, the TRD 86 Cup.
Endurance fans from across the UAE gathered to watch 24 cars from 16 teams line up on the Gulf 12 Hours grid at one of the world’s most challenging circuits. After a dramatic finish, Kessel Racing took overall victory with the Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Michael Broniszewski, Giacomo Piccini and Davide Rigon, completing 303 laps in a total time of 12 hours, 2 minutes and 49 seconds.
Dragon Racing, also in the Ferrari 488 GT3, (driven by Nic Minassian, Matt Griffin and Rob Barff) came home in second place with a gap of 1.19.570 seconds with GP Extreme in a Renault RS 01 (Jordan Grogor, Nicky Pastorelli and Stuart Hall) finishing in third on 301 laps.
GP2 race winner, Alex Lynn and Former Formula 1® driver Stefan Johansson also made their endurance race debut at the Gulf 12 Hours this weekend. Lynn partnered with his father Shaun Lynn and Richard Meins in a Ligier JS P3 for United Autosports’ LMP3, while Johansson, 12-time F1® podium finisher and 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours winner partnered with Jim McGuire, Matt Keegan and Nico Rondet in United Autosports’ other Ligier JS P3. Lynn and his team finished 10thoverall, with Johansson and his team finishing14thin the rankings.
Friday saw the return of fan favourite, the single-make TRD 86 Cup, supported once again by Toyota Racing Development (TRD). The day was full of bumper-to-bumper dicing and nail-biting overtaking action which left fans on the edge of their seats.
In the first TRD 86 Cup Race it was again Karim Al Azhari who snatched the victory with a time of 22 minutes and 33 seconds. Gregory Pain and Mohammed A.G. Hussein placed second and third, crossing the line shortly afterwards at 22.35.979 and 22.36.224, respectively.
Race 2 was a carbon copy of Race 1 as Al Azhari was triumphant with a first-place finish in 21 minutes and 46 seconds. Pain again finished in second with a time of 21.49.535 and Hussein fought off fierce competition to take third with a time of 21.51.684.
As well as the Gulf 12 Hours and the TRD 86 Cup, Yas Marina Circuit also welcomed back the Formula4 UAE Championship to its official home. Jonathan Aberdein finished Race 1 in first place with a time of 20 minutes and 06 seconds, just pipping Logan Sargeant (20.08.481) to second, with David Malukas finishing third in 20.15.188.
In Race 2 it was again Aberdein finishing in first place (15.52.970), Sargeant in second (15.54.778) with Sean Babington third (15.59.664), with Race 3 a repeat of the second with Aberdein finishing again in first (20.06.280), Sargeant in second (20.08.038), with Babington third (20.17.345).
In the fourth and final Formula4 UAE race of the weekend it was again Aberdein that took the top spot with a time of 20 minutes and 14 seconds, with Sargeant in second (20.19.383) and Babington grabbing the final place on the podium with a time of 20.22.291.
A host of motorsport racing action will return in 2017 as Yas Marina Circuit welcomes in the New Year with Yas Super Street Challenge taking place on 18 – 21 January 2017 and Yas Racing Series returning on 9 – 11 February 2017.