Team WRT started 2016 on a winning note, with Laurens Vanthoor, Stuart Leonard, Michael Meadows and Alain Ferte taking victory in an attrition-filled Dubai 24 Hours.
The Audi quartet had to fight back from one lap down, after losing three minutes queueing for fuel in hour two, but their task was made easier as rivals suffered mechanical problems and were involved in incidents in traffic.
Despite being unable to match the one-lap pace of the new R8 LMS, Scuderia Praha's Ferrari 458 was firmly in contention for victory when Matteo Cressoni collided with a slower Ginetta in hour 10.
The driver of the Ginetta, Thomas Martinsson was attended to by medical teams during a lengthy Code 60 stoppage.
Once racing resumed, the Land Motorsport Audi driven by Connor de Philippi, Christopher Mies, Marc Basseng and Carsten Tilke managed to build a lead of almost a full lap over the WRT Audi, when de Philippi ran out of fuel, losing several laps while the car was recovered to the pits.
Audi factory drivers Mies and Basseng propelled the car back to second during the early hours of the morning, but a worsening gearbox problem forced its retirement with just two hours remaining.
That allowed the #16 Black Falcon Mercedes SLS AMG of Oli Webb, Adam Christodoulou, Abdulaziz al Faisal, Oliver Morley and Frank Montecalvo to finish a remarkable second, having started 98th and last.
After their original race chassis burned to ground in practice, Black Falcon mechanics worked through the night to prepare last year's race-winning chassis, which had been on display in the team's hospitality unit, and were rewarded with a clean race, five laps behind the winners.
The result for the old car came amid a weekend to forget for Mercedes' new AMG GT3 in its first 24 hour race, with both Black Falcon entries retiring before half distance.
RAM Racing did at least soldier on to finish 19th overall and 11th in class, but a broken oil cooler during the night had long since resigned Tom Onslow-Cole, Paul White, Thomas Jager, Stuart Hall and Roald Goethe to an extended test session.
The polesitting C.ABT Racing Audi of Christer Jons, Isaac Tutumlu, Daniel Abt, Andreas Weishaupt and Matias Henkola recovered from a spell in the pits to complete the podium after the ailing Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan suffered an engine failure with twenty minutes to go.
Konrad's demise promoted A6-Am winner Horfor Racing to fourth overall, one place ahead of the Optimum Motorsport Audi of Frank Stippler, Joe Osborne, Ryan Ratcliffe and Flick Haigh, which led the first hour and had been a victory contender until a slow puncture and contact with an SP3 Aston Martin caused delays.
Lechner Racing Middle East secured a one-two finish in the 991 class, with back-to-back stints from Jaap Van Lagen and Sven Muller ensuring the #40 car finished comfortably ahead of the #81, which featured Indy Lights racer Ed Jones.