Gulf 12 Hours|0
In one of the tensest finishes to any endurance race, the United Autosports trio of Scot Ryan Dalziel and Venezuelan pair, Enzo Potolicchio and Alex Popow drove an inspired race in the inaugural running of the Gulf 12 Hours at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi today to finish in a fighting third place.
With half an hour of the race left, Dalziel had the lead and was heading for victory until the safety car negated the team's hard-earned advantage. Once back under the green flags and right on the tail of the Audi R8 LMS, the two Ferraris of Marco Cioci and Philipp Peter just picked him off on the long straights and a frustrated Dalziel took a valiant third just place 9.884s behind the winner after 299 laps and 12 hours of racing.
Keeping up the momentum from the Dubai 24 Hours, United Autosports campaigned a sole Audi R8 LMS for the Duncan Batteries, Taxand and Soloson-sponsored drivers in Abu Dhabi, Dalziel posting a 2m11.976s best lap time for the Anglo-American squad to start third in the race.
There was plenty of action around the 3.45-mile circuit throughout the 12 hours, which started in daylight and finished in the evening under the infamous Yas Island floodlights. The 12 hour race was split into two parts of six hours duration each with a 90 minute break in between.
Dalziel started the race for United Autosports, maintaining his fourth grid slot at the start and successfully fending off an attack by one of the AF Corse cars. Potolicchio brought the car up to third with Popow getting into the driving seat after 81 laps and taking second place following a rapid pit stop by the crew.
A longer stop to change front brake pads with 1hr 37 minutes remaining dropped the Audi back to third and now it was imperative to stay on the same lap as the two Ferraris ahead. Popow, now in the #5 Audi, locked his front bumper onto the leading Ferrari and with eight minutes to run, forged his way past to finish the first six hours in third place and crucially on the same lap as the Ferraris.
Potolicchio was back at the wheel for the start of the second part of the race and was almost immediately in trouble when the #90 AF Corse Ferrari ran straight into him, losing Enzo about 17 seconds to recover from a resulting spin. When the safety car was deployed again, Enzo made his mandatory pit stop handing the reins to Alex, who began to hone in on the #3 Ferrari.