UAE GT: Ferrari duo Barff and Price take first win of season in UAE GT
Race Day Report: 2011 UAE National Race Day Series 2 at Dubai Autodrome
Rob Barff and Leon Price shared the AUH Motorsport run Ferrari 458 Italia and wrote a new chapter into the history books by winning the first round of the 2011/2012 NGK UAE GT Championship at Dubai Autodrome on Friday (21 October), as did Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum and Saeed Al Mehairi in the Aston Martin in the GTC Class and Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal who triumphed in the GTB Class driving his Red Bull Porsche.
Barff drove the first stint and established a handy lead before handing the Ferrari to Price who brought it home to notch up the GTA Class and overall win, they overcame a strong challenge from the Gulf Racing Lamborghini pairing of Fabien Giroix and Frederic Fatien.
Barff said afterwards, “It was great to win after a very difficult week for me personally. I lost a dear friend in Dan Wheldon who I knew since we were kids. So winning here I feel I have done him proud.”
He added, “We always knew we had a good car and my job is to deliver a well setup car for the race. I got a good start, banging in some good laps early on and then preserving the tyres, establishing a good lead for Leon and he brought it home.”
Price said, “Rob did all the hard work, making it very easy and when I took over I had a good lead which allowed me to pace myself and run consistent laps. I knew I had a good lead, so I could afford not to push too hard. The car was brilliant running in this heat, a great day.”
It was a first time victory for Ferrari in the UAE GT Championship, thus history was made.
In the GTB Class Al Faisal drove solo to take his first win in the championship driving the Lechner Racing prepared Porsche.
Al Faisal reflected at the end of the day, “It was great fun. We are not used to the Dunlop tyres so we needed to adjust and also I had a drive through penalty, which made it tough especially with the heat. I have not raced the Porsche since May, but it is a great car, a good series and this is a great track. So I am very happy to take a class win.”
Emirati ace Al Mehairi did the first stint in the Yas Marina Circuit backed Aston Martin before handing over to Al Maktoum who did the business to take the GTC Class silverware.
Al Mehairi said, “It is a good way to start the championship. Our car was good and with Sheikh Hasher we were able to maintain a strong pace without compromising the tyres. The championship has just started and we expect more competition as the season progresses, so winning this one is a good start.”
Round 2 of the NGK UAE GT Championship takes place on 4-5 November during the Dubai Motorsport Festival weekend at Dubai Autodrome.
1 – Leon/Rob PRICE/BARFF
2 – Frederic/Fabien FATIEN/GIROIX
3 – Saeed/Hasher AL MEHAIRI/AL MAKTO
4 – AbdulAziz AL FAISAL
5 – John/Martin IOSSIFIDIS/BAERSCHMID
Khalid/Mohammed BIN HADHER/AL Owais