SHERWOOD & STANLEY DRIVE UP A STORM IN THE DUBAI DESERT
After being forced out of the 2013 Dubai 24-hour due to someone else’s accident, Glenn Sherwood and Jamie Stanley made amends at the 2016 event, qualifying inside the SP3 class top 10 and finishing the race just outside.
The event started well with a series of solid practice sessions, the team’s Hankook-Tructyre backed Lotus Evora GT4 getting faster with each lap.
It was Stanley’s responsibility to qualify the car, which he executed expertly – using his sportscar racing pedigree to set a fastest lap of 2m11.2s, which put the team 9th in class for the race.
After a night practice session, to acclimatize the teams to racing in the dark, and a brief warm-up the following day, it was time for the Dubai 24-hour race.
Starting honours for the #111 Evora went to Sherwood & Stanley’s team-mate, Ossy Yusuf, who made a strong opening effort before handing over to Adam Knight in 9th position. Knight was unfortunately struck from behind by a Porsche, which resulted in some damage to the exhaust.
Knight then handed over the car to Stanley, who made excellent progress to carve his way through to second in class by the time Sherwood took over – which would ultimately prove the team’s highest position in the race. The Evora was almost caught up in a collision with a spinning Porsche up ahead during Knight's second outing, which dropped the squad back to tenth position.
When Sherwood took over the reins again for the team’s first night stint, it was decided that the earlier exhaust damage needed mending, which put the car further down the order.
However, the team worked tirelessly through the night - with Sherwood doing the lion's share of the driving - to make up lost ground. Stanley set the car’s fastest lap of the race during the early hours, while Sherwood got the Evora back up to 6th as the sun came up.
By the time the race reached its 16th hour, the team had made further progress and were only two laps away from a podium finish. However, an issue with the head gasket meant the car began to overheat and lose power, and this resulted in another repair trip to the pits by the 22nd hour.
The delay was more lengthy this time, and the car remained stationary until the problem was resolved. However, the squad got it back on track and Sherwood took the final stint, driving it home in 66th place out of 100 participants, and a respectable 11th place in the SP3 Special Cars class.
“Finishing a 24-hour race is no mean feat and I’m proud of the team for making it through despite some hair-raising moments,” said Sherwood. “After being forced to retire in 2013 because of someone else’s accident, we did well to avoid the spinning Porsche this time out, and bring it home safe. Thank you so much to everyone who supported us – particularly our sponsor, Hankook.”
“It was an incredibly competitive field out there so we did well to stay on the pace throughout the race,” added Stanley. “Thanks to Glenn and the team for fighting all the way through to the chequered flag. We learned a lot that I hope we’ll get the chance to put into practice later in the season.”
Sherwood and Stanley are currently evaluating plans for the 2016/17 season, with further 24-hour races in the pipeline.
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