What a difference a few days make! Qualifying has now finished for the 2018 RF2 Asia Endurance race of Dubai, with the pole position swapping multiple times in the LMP2 field. Pim Van Ark set the early pace, but was eclipsed by Edmund Wong, Francesco Grasso and Paul Holt. All set sub 1:40 times and it looked like the grid was going to be finalized with Van Ark outside the top three. However, in the last 30mins of qualifying Van Ark unleashed the beast and set a blistering time of 1:38.488 to secure the top spot. Whilst some concerns have been raised over the BoP of the LMP2 cars, it is clear that with the scorching conditions this race will be one of the most competitive so far of the championship.
On the subject of weather, RF2 Asia advises all drivers to stay hydrated and crack open the backup sunscreen as the track conditions are going to be hot, hot, hot! Temperatures are predicted to be consistently in the mid 40’s so pack your biggest radiator and mess with your engine boost only if you have some serious confidence!
The fight in LMP3 looks like it might be going Kamil Smeija’s way; he improved his time from earlier in the week by a solid two seconds! The Viper Virtual Racing driver looks like he is determined to go for the win, with Audie Devanugraha and Andrew Burrows scrapping for the other podium positions. That is, unless series leader Arkadiusz Otreba pulls something out of the bag. With Mark Robinson’s confirmed absence from the race, Otreba could potentially hugely increase his championship lead. Smieja will surely have to be on the look out not just from the pair behind him, but his own charging Viper Virtual Racing team mate.
GTE is looking business as usual – Adam Karkuszewski could do nothing to respond to Alexis Clapano’s pole lap a full second faster than his. The GTE class is looking like it is splitting between the top pair and the battle for the final podium spot. What a battle it will be! Pole sitter from earlier in the week, Mada Andhika of Merapi Motorsport, will be starting in third position having qualified just a tenth ahead of Dirty Gweilo Racing’s Chris Shire. Pol Faustino, admitting that he got few attempts at getting his best lap in, is behind in fifth. The battle between Faustino and Andhika in the championship could swing in Andhika’s favour this weekend.
Round 5 of the RF2 Asia 2.4 Endurance Championship in Dubai will start at 10:00 UTC+0 on 29th July 2018.
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