DTM legend Bernd Schneider notched up his sixth victory of the season in an international enduro in the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi.
Schneider’s win at Yas Marina at the wheel of the Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG added to his triumphs in the 24-hour races at Spa, the Nurburgring and Dubai, the Bathurst 12 Hours and the Blancpain 1000Km at the Nurburgring.
Longtime Mercedes driver Schneider, 49, and teammates Jeroen Bleekemolen and Khaled Al Qubaisi triumphed in the event made up of two six-hour races by 1m41s from the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia shared by Marco Cioci, Michele Rugolo and Steve Wyatt.
The best of the two Black Falcon Mercedes had finished second to the Ferrari in the first race after losing time under the safety car and again with a wheel nut problem during its final pit stop.
“When I won in Dubai in January, I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve won a 24-hour race,'” said Schneider, who retired from the DTM in 2008 having won five titles. “Now, I’ve won three 24-hour races and two 12-hour races, and I can’t believe it.
“This race was tough. It was quite hot and the temperatures were high, but we really had to push.”
Bleekemolen was able to pass the Ferrari on the opening racing lap of the second race. He subsequently opened a clear gap over Cioci and Al Qubaisi was able to extend the lead when he went up against Wyatt.
The new Bentley Continental GT3, which finished third at the end of the opening six hours, ended up fourth overall in the hands of Steven Kane, Andy Meyrick and Guy Smith despite slowing in the final minutes with a handling problem.
Meyrick said: “The last few laps were hard because the car was moving all over the place, but third place is a mega result. We have exceeded all expectations this was a fantastic debut for the car.”
The Kessel Racing Ferrari, driven by Daniel Zampieri, Cesar Ramos and Michael Broniszewski, came back from an early puncture to overhaul the Bentley in the penultimate hour. The car received a penalty because Broniszewski did not complete the 60-minute minimum driving time, but it did not affect the result.
SCHNEIDER’S 2013 GT ROLL OF HONOR
Race Team/CarDubai 24 Hours Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGBathurst 12 Hours Erebus Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGNurburgring 24 Hours Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGSpa 24 Hours HTP Motorsport Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGBlancpain 1000Km HTP Motorsport Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGGulf 12 Hours Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG