SPS automotive performance wasted no time in claiming its first podiums of 2022 at the opening race of the season – the Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit. The #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3, with Valentin Pierburg (GER), Christoph Lenz (SUI) and Dominik Baumann (AUT) at the wheel, finished runner-up overall and first in the Pro-Am class. After technical issues at the start, the number 75 car, driven by Kenny Habul (AUS), Mikaël Grenier (CAN) and Maro Engel (GER), produced an impressive fightback to end the race in the top ten and take second place in the Pro class.
Valentin Pierburg started the 12-hour race, split into two six-hour sessions, from ninth place in the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3. Pierburg promptly made up several positions at the start. His team-mates Christoph Lenz and Dominik Baumann also made progress through the field, thanks to fast and flawless stints. After the first six hours of racing, the black and green Mercedes-AMG GT3 crossed the finish line in fourth place. When the race resumed at Yas Marina Circuit, Baumann immediately took third place and consistently extended his lead over the chasing pack. All three drivers were once again flawless in this second part of the race. A dramatic finish saw the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 claim second place overall and first place in the Pro-Am class.
In contrast, the number 75 car was unfortunate in the race. Having started from second on the grid, a technical issue forced the trio of Kenny Habul, Mikaël Grenier and Maro Engel to make an unscheduled pit stop a little over an hour into the race. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 sporting the SunEnergy1 livery was able to continue, but rejoined the race at the back of the field, several laps off the pace. The three drivers produced consistently fast lap times as they worked their way back through the field and found themselves back in the top ten of the overall standings by the end of the first six hours. The number 75 car’s fightback continued at the start of the second session. Seven hours into the race, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 was running eighth. Towards the end, Maro Engel gained another two positions before bringing the #75 Mercedes-AMG GT3 home in sixth place overall and second in the Pro class.
The SPS automotive performance team is back in action this weekend at the 24H Dubai. The 24-hour race at Dubai Autodrome starts at 12:00 CET on Friday 14th January.
Stephan Sohn, team principal SPS automotive performance: “We are obviously really happy with the result. Second place overall and the class victory is an excellent result. Unfortunately, our number 75 car had a fault early on in the race, which cost us a lot of time. That is a great shame. I think it would definitely have been in contention. The whole team showed fantastic spirit and never gave in. The performance was good too. We want to back up this display next week in Dubai. Hopefully without any incidents.”
Dominik Baumann, #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I am very happy with our great result here in Abu Dhabi. Prior to the race, I did not think we would finish runner-up overall. However, we saw once again that a lot can happen in endurance racing. If you make it through without any issues or incidents, then you are in with a shout at the end. This is obviously great motivation ahead of the rest of the season. I am already looking forward to the next outings.”