TEAM MIRAGE AUSTRALIA 1-2-3 FINISH AT INAUGURAL TOYO TYRES DUBAI 24-HOUR RACE
Led by Australian V8 Supercar privateer Mal Rose, Team Mirage Australia is forging a reputation as the team to beat in international endurance events.
This week 3 Mitsubishi Mirage Cup cars Supported by DISC BRAKES AUSTRALIA competed at the inaugural 24-hour race in Dubai, finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in class. Their 14th and 15th outright positions in a field of 67 cars reminded us of their similar success and finishing positions in the Bathurst 24-hour races in 2002 and 2003.
These pocket rockets are very well travelled, having now completed at endurance races in Bathurst (twice) Nurburgring (twice), and Dubai. In each case, all the cars entered finished the race - an outstanding testimony to their strength, reliability and to their street-smart drivers. The Mitsubishi Mirage Cup cars were built by Ralliart in Japan for the one-make series held in Australia in the late 1990s and are now prepared for endurance racing at Mal Rose's Rossmore-based operation.
In Dubai, the winning #73 Mirage was driven by Mal Rose, Anthony Robson and Kevin Burton - the same combination that won their class at Nurburgring in 2005 and was 2nd in class in 2004. The #74 car was driven by Richard Gartner, CAMS president Colin Osborne, and Formula Ford racer Dane Rudolph. The #75 car was driven by drivers Peter Leemhuis and Tony Alford, and Porsche Cup driver Paul Freestone. To drive the point home, the three cars crossed the line in a "V for Victory" formation finish.
Undoubtedly the secret to their high outright finishing position was the fact that less time was spent in the pits than any other team, each car pitting very briefly every two hours. As the faster cars broke and crashed, the Mirages moved right up the placing's to be up amongst the BMW and Porsche cars that dominated the pointy end of the field. A fiery crash between two Renault Clio's during the night saw the race red-flagged for an hour and a half as the debris was cleared. The race was won outright by the Duller Motorsport Red Bull M3 E46 GTR driven by motorsport legends Dieter Quester and Hans Stuck, followed by a gaggle of Porsche 996 GT3s.
To next see the Australian flag waved from the window and decorating the paintwork of an international race-car, Team Mirage Australia will be returning in June to the world's most demanding circuit, the 25km Nurburgring, to defend their 2005 class win.
"Nurburgring is very fast, long and dangerous and some cars like the Viper and the twin-turbo Porsches do well over 300 km/h there. There are over 200 cars in the one race and we've seen a lot of them don't make it. Only now that we've been there a couple of times could we consider running a really fast car. We have a proven track record and we know our way around, so I think the time has come to take something bigger. Something with a big Aussie V8 in it."
TEAM MIRAGE AUSTRALIA is supported by DBA, TOYO, CASTROL, Rehydr8, Caldwell's Auto Body Repairs, XenonOz, Australian CV & Power Steering Service, Motorsport Models, Reliance, and The Supercar Experience.
The team was in the first practice session was Car 73 driven by Mal Rose 3rd in class A1 & 1st in Team Mirage. Car 75 Driven by Paul Freestone was 4th in Class and 2nd in Team Mirage. Car 74 was 5th in Class and 3rd in the Team Mirage.
In Qualifying Car 75 driven by Peter Leemhuis was 3rd in class A1 and 1st in Team Mirage with car 73 in 4th in class and 2nd in the team & Car 74 5th in Class & 3rd in Team Mirage.
Car 73 Driven by Mal Rose, Anthony Robson & Kevin Burton finished 14th OUTRIGHT & 1st in Class A1 and 1st in Team Mirage. Car 74 Driven by Richard Gartner, Colin Osborne & Dan Rudolph finished 15th OUTRIGHT & 2nd in Class A1 and 2nd in Team Mirage. Car 75 Driven by Peter Leemhuis, Tony Alford & Paul Freestone finished 31st Outright & 3rd in Class A1 and 3rd in Team Mirage.
Car 73 completed 463 laps and fastest time of 2:31.139 sec with 13 pit stops. Car 74 completed 462 laps and fastest time of 2:32.230 sec with only 11 stops (the least amount of ANY car in the race). Car 75 completed 420 laps and fastest time of 2:32.402 with 14 stops.
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