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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Stéphane Kox shows speed on her Creventic return

Despite an overall unfortunate 6H of Abu Dhabi, Stéphane Kox and her Saalocin by Kox Racing teammates fought for most of the race in the overall top ten and in the top-five in GT3 AM, as they now turn their focus to the upcoming 24H of Dubai.

Stéphane Kox, Saalocin by Kox Racing Porsche, 6H of Abu Dhabi 2024
Photo credits: Creventic

Dutch racer Stéphane Kox completed the Hankook 6 Hours of Abu Dhabi in the top five among the GT3 AM class, but a post race penalty eventually dropped her team to sixth to round out an overall unfortunate race for Saalocin by Kox Racing, who had battled in the overall top ten for the vast majority of the race. Kox - who shared the #48 Porsche 911 GT3 R with her father Peter and Nico Pronk - was behind the wheel for over two hours and was at one point in contention for the class podium.

Stéphane, 30, is an expert driver, having raced in single seaters (ADAC Formel Masters), touring cars, GT cars and prototypes, in the last years primarily in the Middle East. In 2019 she raced in Asian Le Mans in the LMP3 category, then was part of the inaugural W Series selections. She would return behind the wheel in 2021 with a DTM Trophy campaign, before focusing on GT3. She has raced in 24H Series, Asian Le Mans Series, and Intercontinental GT Challenge - where she finished fifth in class in the 2022 Gulf 12H.

Her previous Creventic appearance was a class podium at the 2023 Dubai 24 Hours - a result that she will be eager to repeat - and top - in a week's time. With the postponement of the Dubai classic, which traditionally opens the endurance racing worldwide calendar, Stéphane and her Saalocin by Kox Racing teammates focused on the first part of the Middle-Eastern back-to-back, the 6H of Abu Dhabi which represents a valuable preparation for the Dubai 24h marathon.

Stéphane Kox, Saalocin by Kox Racing Porsche, 6H of Abu Dhabi 2024
Photo credits: Creventic

In the first testing sessions, the trio worked on finding the rhythm and the practice session held on Saturday morning showed that they had the potential to fight for the top five in class, as well as the top 10 overall. In GT3 AM, times were particularly close and over the course of the six hours of racing all the entries would be close enough to contest for a podium.

In the three-session qualifying later in the day, Nico Pronk took the helm of the #48 Saalocin by Kox Racing Porsche and set the sixth time in class with a 1:59.500 that also put him P17 overall. It was then Stéphane's time behind the wheel - and she improved significantly to a 1:56.964, retaining sixth. Her father Peter was a couple of tenths faster and, with a 1:55.141 lap, he secured fifth in class in the session - which resulted in a P13 overall on the grid, sixth among the GT3 AM entries.

At the start of the race, the #21 HAAS RT Audi shared the front row with the #96 Car Collection Porsche; in a clean getaway for the whole field, Peter Kox's experience made the difference and he made his way through the pack, bringing the #48 Porsche from P13 to P8 overall - and fourth in cass - after the opening laps.

Peter Kox moved up to seventh and caught Charles Espenlaub for class position; he continued to run within one second to the CP Racing Mercedes and, after 20 minutes of racing, Kox grabbed seventh overall and P4 in class. A slow puncture for Markus Winkelhock forced the Audi to a first pit stop in the early stages, which handed Kox sixth overall.

Kox kept climbing the order as the first round of pit stops approached, having also cleared the CP Racing Mercedes. By extending his stint, Kox went slightly longer and led overall before taking the way of the pit lane. After a stellar first stintby Kox, Nick Pronk took over the Saalocin by Kox Racing Porsche 1 hour and 20 minutes in, rejoining P12 overall and P5 in class.

Stéphane Kox, Saalocin by Kox Racing Porsche, 6H of Abu Dhabi 2024
Photo credits: Creventic

The first full course code 60 came at the 2 hours mark, when the GPM by Dragon Mercedes came to a halt with a suspension failure. With some cars gambling on fuel strategy, Pronk had moved up to sixth overall and second in GT3 AM.

After a short code 60 for debris, the race was neutralized again for the monstrous crash of the #223 Lamera Cup car of Daniel Lamoulie, who went off at speed on his out lap at turn 4, completely destroying the car except for the safety cage, which did its job to protect the driver. After barrier repairs, Stéphane Kox was next in the #48 car and started to get closer to the overall top 10 once again.

The race reached its midway point and another accident triggered a code 60: the #721 Porsche 991 car of Fonseca was hit by the #710 Leipert Lamborghini of Gerhard Watzinger.

Stephane Kox took the opportunity to pit under caution and rejoined P11 overall, having retained fifth in class. The action resumed with 2 and a half hours to go; the Dutchwoman was significantly faster than the cars ahead and closed in on the ProAm Grove Racing Mercedes.

Kox managed to break in the top ten overall within the next 30 minutes and then overtook Stephen Grove on lap 102. Stéphane was in fact one of the fastest drivers in class and was at that point back in contention for a GT3 Am top three. At the following code 60 - caused by a wheel coming off the 10 Mercedes - she pitted for fuel and remained behind the wheel.

Fourth in class, Stephane was now 20 seconds behind the Herberth Motorsport Porsche of Alfred Adenauer, third in class, with 1 hour and 20 minutes to go. She then pitted again for a refueling on lap 112 and handed over to her father Peter Kox, having completed a superbly solid two-hour stint.

Peter almost matched the car’s best lap right away and was starting to make up ground, but a lengthy code 60 for a technical issue at the fuel pumps meant that the race resumed only for the final 22 minutes. The overall leader, the Baron Motorsport Ferrari, dived into pitlane for a refueling at the green flag - handing the top spot to Dennis Marschall’s Car Collection Motorsport Porsche, who eventually took the overall honors.

The Saalocin by Kox Racing Porsche also had to pit again as the team had to replace a missing number board. Stéphane took over the reins once again with 16 minutes to go, which cost them a position overall but no positions in class. Stephane closed in on the 992-class Red Camel Jordans Porsche but she would have to settle for eleventh overall and fifth among the GT3 Am entries. Unfortunately, a 3-lap post-race penalty dropped them to sixth in class and 18th overall.

Her first double stint brought the #48 machine on the doorsteps of the AM podium, but a series of unfortunate circumstances eventually denied Stéphane Kox and her team a chance to get closer to a potential top three, despite a very good effort for the Emirati-based outfit. Stéphane Kox, Peter Kox, Nico Pronk, will be joined by Dennis Retera and former cyclist-star Tom Boonen for next week's Dubai 24 hours.



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