Intercontinental GT: Calado, Fuoco and Pier Guidi win the 12 Hours of the Gulf after…
Intercontinental GT: Calado, Fuoco and Pier Guidi win the 12 Hours of the Gulf after problems for Audi and Mercedes-AMG
34 cars took part in the last GT race of 2022
The Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi hosted the 12 Hours of the Gulf this Sunday, the season finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli. GruppeM Racing’s Mercedes seemed to be the big favourites, but they retired in the early stages and the best Audi on the field, Tresor Attempto Racing’s R8 LMS Evo II, didn’t see the black and white checkerboard. Ferrari made good use of it to score a 1-2 result with AF Corse. James Calado, Antonio Fuoco and Alessandro Pier Guidi won ahead of Nicklas Nielsen, Davide Rigon and Alessio Rovera. GruppeM driver Dani Juncadella still managed to win the Drivers’ Championship. Mercedes-AMG won the title in the one-make championship for the first time.
Text: Vincent Bruins (Twitter: @VincentJBruins)
GruppeM teammates Maro Engel and Raffaele Marciello started from the front row. After the first lap, however, they immediately came to make one of the ten mandatory pit stops, as did Kelvin van der Linde (Audi Sport Team Tresor) who had started P3. Alternative strategies were therefore immediately considered. Luca Stolz (Al Manar Racing by GetSpeed), who only had a chance of winning the championship if he won the race, also arrived early. Within forty minutes, however, water was squirting out of Engel’s car into the braking areas and failing with water pressure issues. Marciello’s car will suffer the same fate an hour later.
Ellis, Habul and Konrad braved the rain en route to first place in the Pro-Am class
Halfway through the race, it was clear that the battle for victory would be between the Ferraris of AF Corse, the Mercedes-AMGs of Al Manar Racing by GetSpeed and the Audis of Tresor Attempto Racing and Saintéloc Racing. With three hours to go, Van der Linde pushed hard on his team-mate Dennis Marschall to catch Pier Guidi and Christophe Haase (Audi Sport Team Saintéloc), but the German made contact with GT Cup leader Ivan Jacoma (Centri Porsche Ticino). . He retired with a broken suspension. The Saintéloc Junior Team Audi dominated the Silver Cup, but Gilles Magnus had to abandon the car due to a mechanical problem in the last hour and a half. Fuoco completed a faultless last stint and won with Calado and Pier Guidi. It was a 1-2 result for AF Corse as Stolz fell back outside the podium due to a slow final pitstop. Nielsen managed to shake off Haase teammate Patric Niederhauser and finished second with Rigon and Rovera. Haase and Niederhauser shared third place with GT3 rookie Erwan Bastard. Stolz finished fourth with Fabian Schiller and Al Faisal Al Zubair.
Ferrari managed to prevent Mercedes-AMG from winning every race in the Intercontinental GT Championship this season
Philip Ellis, Kenny Habul and Martin Konrad (SunEnergy1 by SPS) won the Pro-Am category, finishing brilliantly in fifth place overall. They beat the two McLarens of Garage 59 with Benji Goethe, Marvin Kirchhöfer and Alexander West ahead of Eddie Cheever III, Chris Froggatt, Jonathan Hui and Kevin Tse. Between the two, the MDK Motorsports Ferrari of Mark Kvamme and father and son Jan and Kevin Magnussen finished seventh. Alex Aka, Pietro Delli Guanti and Finlay Hutchison (Tresor Attempto Racing) lost several laps due to gearbox problems, but still triumphed in the Silver Cup after Simon Gachet, Lucas Légeret and Magnus failed. Coming to Abu Dhabi as reigning Gulf 12 Hours winners, Isa Al Khalifa and Martin Kodrić completed the overall top 10 alongside Hunter Abbott in a Mercedes-AMG 2 Seas Motorsport.
Silver Cup victory came as a surprise for Aka, Delli Guanti and Hutchison
AF Corse took the entire podium in the amateur rider category. Louis Prette and Philippe Prette won the Am class alongside Conrad Grunewald and Jean-Claude Saada ahead of their teammates Stefano Costantini, “Alex Fox”, Laurent De Meeus & Jamie Stanley and Alessandro Cozzi, Tani Hanna, Gabriele Lancieri & Giorgio Sernagiotto. The Kox family finished impressively fifth in their class. Peter and Stéphane shared a Saalocin Racing Porsche with Tom Boonen and Nico Pronk. Boonen nearly rolled over in the final stage after a touch from Grunewald in the fast third corner. At the start, a downpour came out of nowhere on the circuit. Matúš Výboh suffered damage, so Team Baron Motorsport Middle East’s chances were quickly lost. David Fairbrother in a Duel Racing by Toro Verde Porsche Cup also crashed heavily on the wet track. He injured his shoulder. Despite contact with Marschall and a puncture in the last three minutes, Alex Fontana, Jacoma and Ashish Patel won the GT Cup class.
Grunewald, the Prette brothers and Saada were three laps ahead of the rest of the Am competition
Juncadella’s lead in the standings was big enough that his title chances would only be threatened if Stolz won the race. Stolz having finished fourth, the Spaniard is thus the drivers’ champion of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli. After four titles for Audi Sport and two for Porsche, it’s finally Mercedes-AMG’s turn in the single-make championship. Habul and Konrad are the winners of the Pro-Am Challenge.
Juncadella Celebrates Drivers’ Title With Turquoise Gold Globe Trophy
In 2023, the Intercontinental GT Championship will race on all continents for the first time since 2019: the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia and Joburg Kyalami 9 Hour in South Africa in February, the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium in summer, the 8 Hours of Indianapolis presented by AWS in the United States in October and the 12 Hours of the Gulf in Abu Dhabi at a date to be determined.
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