Kessel Ferrari wins Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi

The Kessel Racing Ferrari of Davide Rigon, Andrea Piccini and Michael Broniszewski took out the fifth running of the Gulf 12 Hours sportscar race in Abu Dhabi

Kessel Ferrari wins Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi

The team started the Yas Marina endurance race from fourth in the 19-car field, and Rigon moved into the lead in the third hour.

When the race paused at the halfway mark, it was 70 seconds clear of the two Black Falcon Mercedes entries, with the Motorbase-run Oman Racing Team Aston Martin in fourth.

In the #1 Mercedes he shared with Maro Engel and Khaled Al Qubaisi, Jeroen Bleekemolen took the lead early in the second half, but the car soon encountered an electrical problem, losing 10 laps and eventually finishing seventh.

The #2 Black Falcon entry of Yelmer Buurman, Abdulaziz Al Faisal and Hubert Haupt - who teamed up with Oliver Webb to win the Dubai 24 Hours at the start of the year - then led the race.

However, with just under three hours remaining, Rigon reclaimed top spot from Al Faisal and the car was never headed again.

When a crash with eight minutes to go brought out the red and ultimately chequered flags, the Ferrari was 24.253 seconds clear of the Mercedes.

"We have had a really tight race this morning and it is great to carry all the hard work into a win," Rigon said.

"We were lucky, because I saw the other car crashing and I tried to avoid it.

"It was the right choice to stop the race even so it is a shame to end it like that, because we really enjoyed ourselves today."

Factory Aston Martin pair Darren Turner and Jonny Adam took third with Ahmad Al Harthy for Oman Racing, nearly 70 seconds behind Rigon.

Kessel's second car - driven by Vadim Gitlin, Michael Lyons and Marco Zanuttini - was classified fifth, despite Lyons being involved in the late-race collision with the Black Pearl Racing by Rinaldi Ferrari, which had spun on oil exiting Turn 3.

Its third car finished eighth, with former MotoGP rider Loris Capirossi among the line-up.

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