HANKOOK 24H Dubai / 6H Abu Dhabi:
The Car Collection Motorsport team, led by Peter Schmidt, traveled to the United Arab Emirates at the beginning of January for two consecutive races. At the HANKOOK 24H Dubai the team started for the 15th time and one week later the 1st edition of the HANKOOK 6H Abu Dhabi took place. The two events were entered with two Audi R8 LMS GT3s and changing driver line ups.
The HANKOOK 24H Dubai took place from January 13th to 16th. The Audi R8 LMS GT3 #34 was driven by the quartet consisting of Dr. Johannes Kirchhoff, Gustav and Max Edelhoff and Elmar Grimm. The sister vehicle #88 was shared by Milan Dontje, Kim Holmgaard, Martin Lechman, Tim Müller and Johannes Stengel. In the 30-minute qualifying, Max Edelhoff finished 14th on the grid and 6th in the GT3-AM class. The Audi R8 LMS GT3 #88 could not take part in qualifying. Due to an accident during free practice in the morning and the major damage, the session had to be skipped. The vehicle was ready for night practice again, but the race for the quintet started from the last starting position (33rd place) in the GT field.
Despite a smaller starting field, which still had 53 vehicles, the race was strategically shaped by 16 “Code 60 phases”. Right after the start there was the first moment of shock. Elmar Grimm in the car with the number 34 was spun but was able to start driving again immediately. Then the two Audi R8 LMS GT3s worked their way through the field and finished the Hankook 24H Dubai, after a faultless drive and a perfect strategy, in 2nd and 3rd place in the GT3-AM class and in 6th and 8th overall.
On Sunday the mechanics went back to the racetrack. Now it was time to make both cars operational again for the next race, the HANKOOK 6H Abu Dhabi. The crew had the opportunity to do this in Dubai until Monday. At the same time, however, the containers also had to be loaded, because they went to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. So Peter Schmidt’s team was able to enjoy a day off before heading to the Yas Marina Circuit on Wednesday. Here everything started all over again. Unload the container, set up the box and prepare the vehicles for the first session.
The drivers on the two Audi R8 LMS GT3s were Dr. Johannes Kirchhoff, Gustav Edelhoff and Wiggo Dalmo on vehicle #34. The cockpit of the #88 was shared by Antares Au from Hong Kong and the two Britons Chris Froggatt and Ian Loggie. Unfortunately, car #34 had a serious accident on Friday morning. Fortunately, Dr. Johannes Kirchhoff uninjured, but the Audi R8 LMS GT3 was so badly damaged that it was not possible to repair it at the track. Thus, only the car with the number 88 entered the race for Car Collection Motorsport.
In qualifying on Saturday morning, Chris Froggatt qualified in 3rd starting position. The young Briton initially defended this in the starting phase, but then he had contact with an opponent that made Froggatt spin and he fall back to the end of the field. Before the end of the first hour of the race, the trio was back in the lead. In a Code 60 phase, the team decided not to go to the fuel station and thus catapulted themselves into the leading position. Au, Froggatt and Loggie only gave it up for a short time until the end of the race, depending on when the pit stops took place. With a lead of 3 laps the Audi R8 LMS GT3 crossed the finish line in first place.
Peter Schmidt: „It was an extremely successful start to the season for us. A double podium and victory at the HANKOOK 6H Abu Dhabi, the start of the year could not have gone better. A big thank you goes to my team. They prepared the two Audi R8 LMS GT3s perfectly and so the cars ran flawlessly through the races. One thing you should not forget that the car #88 was also driven at the 9H Kyalami in December and it was not in our workshop at home in between. Many thanks also to Audi Sport for building such a reliable and safe car. Fortunately, Johannes was not injured in the impact. Now preparations for the 2021 season are proceeding at full speed again. We will publish the first plans in the next few weeks.“