20.1.17 Wolfgang Kaufmann's season starts early, with the 24h of Dubai
Pole position and class win in the Middle Eastern endurance classic
After four years of absence, Wolfgang Kaufmann returned to Dubai for the 12th edition of the 24 hour race. His confidence was high for a good result, with a proven car: For the third time, the Brokernet Silver Sting was his vehicle of choice for the race twice around the clock. In 2010 and 2011, Kaufmann had already driven this car for Bovi Motorsport, and had won his class every time. This time, his team mates were Kalman Bodis, Jaap van Lagen, and Bo Frederiksen.
In free practice, the driver quartet concentrated on clocking up miles. With persistent transmission worries, the team decided to change the gearbox in time for qualifying, and in record time - the crew’s effort was rewarded with pole position in the SP2 class. The stage was set for a successful race!
In the race Wolfgang Kaufmann was second in line to get behind the wheel of the six-cylinder engine sports car. Right into the night hours, the team kept asserting itself at the head of its class, but trouble lay ahead. A BMW driver misjudged his braking point and ran into the Brokernet Silver Sting’s right rear corner. The damage lead to a short halt for repairs; through no fault of its own, the team found itself slipping down the order, to 5th place in class. The class win seemed out of reach.
As an aftermath of this crash, a broken track rod captured Wolfgang Kaufmann’s attention - luckily, the failure happened right before the entrance to pit lane, so the German professional was able to return the car safely to its garage.
For “Fighter” Kaufmann, giving up was not an option. Consistently quick lap times brought him and his team mates back into the lead as morning arrived. Numerous Code 60 phases (cars are only allowed to circulate at 60kph) as a result of crashes did not take the professional racer’s mind off the objective - to defend the lead with vigour.
The regulations for this race contain a quirky rule that had the team worried in the morning hours: “In the SP2 class, you can choose a combination of basic vehicle weight and tank size, but with your choice, you also pick a minimum lap time for your car”, Kaufmann explains. Bovi Motorsport had chosen a lap time of 2:08 minutes. As one of Kaufmann’s team mates had got a little over-ambitious, he then had to bring the car in for a 2:30 minute time penalty.
One last moment of drama came in the last hour, when the diffusor in the back of the Brokernet Silver Sting started loosening. Before Kaufmann could return to the pits to have the damage repaired, the diffusor - an essential part for the vehicle’s aerodynamic performance - fell off altogether. In spite of slightly compromised lap times, Kaufmann pressed on to clinch his third class win with this car in the 24 Hours of Dubai. At the finish line, the team had an advantage of two laps over its rivals who, for the most part, had much more GT and V8 machinery at their disposal.
“This third class win with the Brokernet in Dubai is a top achievement. This time around, we had to work extra hard to make it happen; this class has never been more competitive.
The race itself is tough anyway, with so many cars on the track, so many battles going on - you have to be on your toes at all times to avoid crashes. Hardly any of the cars that went the distance weren’t showing some kind of traces of impact. Our Hungarian team Bovi Motorsport, and mainly Kalman Bodis who puts his heart and soul into this project, have done a perfect job. Our effort and our fighting spirit have been rewarded!”