Matteo Cairoli jumps on the podium to close off the 2023 season

The Intercontinental GT Challenge saw its checkered flag wave in Abu Dhabi at the iconic Gulf 12H, managed by SRO and Driving Force Events. Matteo Cairoli raced in Yas Marina at the wheel of Herberth Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT3 #33 in the Pro-Am class with Tim Heinemann and Antares Au, who were actually fighting for the Indipendent Cup trophy against Jonathan Hui. During the qualifying round, the team managed to snatch a third overall position, placing among the Pro entries thanks to Matteo Cairoli’s speed in Q4, underway at night, and to Tim Heinemann and Antares Au’s balance.

Ahead of the race, the German team chose Au for the start, who managed to have a great performance during the initial delicate phase of the Gulf 12H, characterized by two long neutralizations caused by Turn 1’s crashes that saw the Garage 59’s McLaren #59 and Grove Racing’s Porsche #4 retire. However, Au drove two clean and precise stints, handing the car to Tim Heinemann. Unluckily, at the end of the third hour of the race, the German suffered a rear left tire puncture and entered the pit lane after a really slow lap.

Therefore, Matteo Cairoli’s stint became the key to make up for all the time lost. The driver from Como pushed really hard, even with a radio issue, which complicated the strategic planning communication throughout the whole race. Despite the difficulties, Cairoli’s incredible stint and Heinemann and Au’s consistency allowed the #33 car to get closer and closer to the podium zone.

As soon as Matteo Cairoli stepped into the cockpit for his final stint, he managed to stop for one last quick pit stop, which was crucial to synchronize with their rivals, and took advantage of the #75 Mercedes of SunEnergy1’s retirement to cross the finish line third in the Pro-Am class, just behind Optimum Motorsport’s #27 McLaren and Kessel Racing’s #11 Ferrari. It definitely was a remarkable result for Matteo, which became even more special as it was his last race with Porsche.