The G-Drive trio of Rene Binder, Yifei Ye and Ferdinand Habsburg have won the first race of the 2021 Asian Le Mans season in the Aurus 01 Gibson.
An action-packed start saw Simon Trummer take the lead in the #5 Phoenix Racing Oreca 07 Gibson. The battle between the G-Drive pair of Binder in the #26 Aurus 01, John Falb in the #25 sister car, and Sean Gelael in the #28 JOTA Oreca 07 Gibson gave Trummer an opportunity to move through to the front of the field. The Swiss driver pulled away, before Gelael hunted him down and an incident saw the Indonesian hit the curb and tap the #5 Phoenix Racing entry, which caused a minor double impact for the leading pair.
Binder took control of the race before he handed the drive to Ye. The Chinese driver continued to lead the race and gave Habsburg prime position to take victory. Despite the earlier drama and a penalty for contact, Gelael and Stoffel Vandoorne took second place for #28 JOTA, ahead of Matthias Kaiser Simon Trummer, and Nicki Thiim for Phoenix Racing.
Era Motorsport took LMP2 Am class honours with Andreas Laskaratos, Kyle Tilley and Dwight Merriman able to overcome a drama in an early pit stop and being a lap down to beat Neale Muston and John Corbett in the #11 Eurointernational Ligier JS P217 Gibson.
Pole sitters, the #23 United Autosports continued the team’s dominance in LMP3 as Rory Penttinen Wayne Boyd, Manuel Maldonado remained unchallenged from green lights to chequered flag in the Ligier JS P320 Nissan. Intense battles broke out throughout the race for the remainder of the podium positions, with defending LMP3 champions, #9 Nielsen Racing’s Tony Wells and Colin Noble crossing the line second, ahead of Jim McGuire, Duncan Tappy and Andrew Bentley in the #3 United Autosports Ligier JS P320.
It was a tough day at the other end of the field for #44 ARC Bratislava Ginetta G61-LT-P3, after visits to the garage and drive through penalties during the race. #63 DKR Engineering Duqueine M30-D08 shared in the bad luck and struggled with technical issues before they stopped on track and caused a Full Course Yellow.
Heartbreak continued in the GT class for the #40 GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. After a strong start which saw Julien Andlauer pull out an extraordinary lead, Axcil Jefferies consolidated the position, but a late race spin from Alain Ferte saw the Dubai-based team drop to second, before a penalty applied post-race saw them drop to fourth.
A solid run by #99 Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 of Ralf Bohn, Alfred Renauer and Robert Renauer meant victory for the German team, ahead of Brendan Iribe, Oliver Millroy and Ben Barnicoat #7 INCEPTION Racing McLaren 720S GT3, and #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Chandler Hull, Jonathon Miller and Nicky Catsburg.
For GT Am, it was a comeback from the rear of the field for #66 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 trio Christian Hook, Manuel Lauck, Patrick Kujala to snatch class honours, ahead of Henry Walkenhorst, Jorg Breuer, and Sami Matti Trogen in the #35 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 and #27 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Giorgio Roda, Francesco Zollo and Tim Kohmann.
The action continues tomorrow with Race 2 of the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series from Dubai Autodrome starting at 12:45 local time.
Pole Position for the 4 Hours of Dubai Race 2 – by class:
LMP2: #25 Franco Colapinto G-Drive Racing Aurus 01
LMP2 Am: #18 Kyle Tilley Era Motorsport Oreca 07
LMP3: #23 Wayne Boyd United Autosports Ligier JS P320
GT: #93 Klaus Bachler Precote Herbeth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R
GT Am: #35 Sami Matti Trogen Walkenhorst BMW M6 GT3