Reflecting back over a busy January which included the ever popular Dunlop 24hr endurance race – Dubai, DAMC National Race Day at the Yas Marina Circuit and a host of other track days & auto-x events, time to catch my breath and tell you how it was…
Before the Xmas turkey had been digested, the empty cans and bottles had been recycled and the extra hole punched through on my belt for the expanded waistline, there was a buzz around the Dubai Autodrome. Preparations were well underway for the 8th running of the Dubai 24hr endurance series run by those awfully nice chaps from Creventic in Holland…Yup, the Dutch race army were back in town in their now familiar orange kit to turn the venue into a race-village once again. With almost 90 race cars on the start grid, it is by far the biggest and most spectacular race anywhere in the Middle East.
From supercars with huge budgets at one end of the scale which saw Marques like Mercedes, Lamborghini, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren among others, pitted up against our very own local teams in Seat, Honda and BMW saloon cars. Mix in a variety of specials from all corners of the globe and we had a truly International mix of drivers and race cars…
For me, there would be a bird’s eye view of the race as once again I would be dangling my legs through the open doors of the air ambulance turned media bus with the cameras pointing earthwards. To say it was blustery once up in the air would be an understatement.
The race was action packed and full of twists & turns. For the local boys it was definitely a big success with Both SVDP Racing in their diesel BMW & Lap57 in their ultra reliable Honda taking class wins and the Seat of the Moutran Bros Memac Ogilvy Duel racing taking 3rd in class.
I was gutted for them as we almost had a class win there too as they were so far in front when the gearbox gremlins went to work that it took over 58mins in the pit garage before the second place car in their class took over the lead, such is the cruel world of endurance racing…It’s never over till the fat lady sings!
Overall the win was once again taken by the mighty Mercedes SLS AMG Abu Dhabi Black Falcon GT3 with Khalid Al Qubaisi & team mates at the wheel…Awesome result!
Turning to the DAMC National Racing, unfortunately the grids have dropped off dramatically. With a handful of cars on track one has to ask why? Ok, so we all know there is a recession but I feel that that is not the whole story…One thing for sure, our Mr. Vanderpal is keeping us all waiting for the clockwork orange to arrive. Having been up at the SVDP Racing Ranch on the build up to the 24hr it is all coming together and I know it won’t be long before it hits the track in anger!
In my last ramblings I mentioned that the big hairy guy, Alex Annivas was shrinking in size, no more the ‘BIG’ hairy guy, he has now lost so much weight it is hard to spot him in the paddock! The once ‘XL’ race suit would now hold both him and me with room to spare! His power to weight ratio is getting better month on month…I’m sure that by the final race of the season he will asked to carry more ballast as he will be well under the weight limit in his Clio!
The bikes are soon to return to the track, will anyone step up to the task in the big class and push Abdul Aziz or will he left to circulate on his own again. Maybe the Flying Scotsman Alan Boyter with his big Kwakasaki or one of the Dukes will have their race faces on and take him on…
Kudos to the Radical Winter series run by AUH Motorsport. They Appear to be growing the grids slowly but surely and dragging over some of Europe’s top drivers to have fun in the sun whilst the snow is covering their home race tracks.
The FG1000 Series with Mr. Barry Hope is also pulling in drivers from abroad and these appear to be mixing it with the already established open wheel racers. Sixteen year old Malaysian Rahul Mayer broke Natasha Seatter’s recent domination by taking his first win, now we are looking at three or four possible winners on the day in this one make series….
On another note, I finally managed to catch up with Gulf Petrolheads head honcho Neil Greer a couple of weeks back. His stunning Mk1 Escort took to the track again at one of the popular Evolve Auto-X events at the Duabi Autodrome Oval.
I had promised over and over again to capture this great piece of history on track which was painstakingly restored by the man himself (with help from a few others on the way) and finally managed an hour or so to capture a couple of runs…very glad I did too. It not only looked the biz but also sounded the part too…I have been promised the driving seat at the next track day it ventures out on, time to relive my youth methinks!
Ok, so enough for now, this weekend see’s another first at the Dubai Autodrome with the first time running of the 300km race which will see the touring cars alongside Radicals and maybe a couple of GT’s Should be interesting as there will be some big speed differentials on the day…Will keep you posted.
Till then, keep it rubber side down and the loud pedal nailed…
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