Toyo Tires 24 Hour Preview
This Friday and Saturday (January 9th and 10th), the Dubai Autodrome will be hosting the fourth edition of the TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai, the first major international motor racing event of 2009. A strong entry with over eighty teams and impressive cars promises an exciting and spectacular race. Among the competitors are former F1-driver Johnny Herbert, ex-DTM touring car stars Kurt Thiim and Roland Asch and GP2 racer Ho Pin Tung.
While daytime temperatures in a large part of Europe hardly rise above zero degrees Centigrade, teams are getting ready for the race in Dubai in bright sunshine and in pleasant temperatures of around 25 degrees. "The containers have arrived at the circuit and today (Tuesday), teams have started unloading their equipment and setting up their pit boxes", reports Gerrie Willems from Dubai, speaking on behalf of race organizers CREVENTIC.
With 26 Porsches in the field, the famous German sports car manufacturer has the strongest representation in the fourth edition of the 24-hour race. But Austrian team Duller Motorsport, that won the race in 2006 and 2007, is racing again this year with its BMW M3 E46 GTR. An interesting battle is expected among the compact cars as well, with various Renault Clios, Ford Fiestas and Mitsubishi Mirages on the grid. In the diesel class, a Volkswagen Golf run by a Polish team will be facing competition from numerous BMW 120 Ds and a BMW 320 D.
There is a lot of interest for the TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai, says race organizer Gerrie Willems. "Only one week ago, we still received a request from Italian team, PB Racing that wanted to enter its Lotus Exige. We told them that they could still take part in the race, but that the containers were already well underway. That was no problem, they said, they would take care of the air transport of the car themselves. And indeed, the car duly arrived here at the circuit, well in time!"
Action at the track will start on Thursday with free practice from 13.15 till 14.15, while the positions on the starting grid for the race will be decided in qualifying from 15.00 till 17.00. An additional night practice session is scheduled from 18.00 till 20.30 in the evening. On Friday, there is a warm-up from 10.30 till 11.00. The race will start on Friday at 14.00 and will end, as scheduled, 24 hours later. All times are local (time difference to continental Europe + 3 hours, to the UK +2 hours).