The opening two hours of the Gulf 12 Hours has witnessed a close battle between the leading GT3 cars and the Avelon racing CN2 car.
The early stages were led by the AF Corse Ferrari 458 started by Matt Griffin, closely followed by the Kessel Racing 458 driven by Philipp Peter.
Pole position man Ivan Bellarosa adopted a watching brief in third position initially, before moving past both 458s to lead after half an hour. The United Autosports Audi R8 LMS ran fourth, with Ryan Dalziel at the wheel.
The first pit stops saw the GT3 cars take control but the second AF Corse Ferrari, started by Niki Cadei, lost a lap due to a starter motor problem in the pits.
The first round of stops coincided with a Safety Car deployed while the No 16. IF Motorsport Ligier JS49 was towed into the pits with a broken oil pump belt. It will return to the race when repairs are completed.
In a difficult start to the race for Bryce Wilson’s crew, its second JS49 crashed as the two hour mark approached, prompting the second Safety Car period.
That brought the Safety-Car in again, as the car couldn’t make it to the pits on his own. Teams again made the most of it to serve their pit-stop, so completing the first full switch of drivers. So Cioci-Griffin-Perazzini closed the first two hours in the lead, ahead of Dalziel-Popow-Potolicchio and Broniszewski-Coimbra-Peter-Ramos.
The Caffi/Mane/Zanardini Bonaldi Motorsport Lamborghini Gallardo leads the Cup class with the Yas Marina Circuit Aston Martin in charge of the GT4 category after the Aylezo Motorsport Lotus 2-Eleven was delayed by an oil leak.