Dubai: Fernando Alonso stars in kart team at Kartdrome 24 Hours endurance race
Dubai, 28 Nov 2014: Double world champion Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso was the star driver who lined up to contest the Dubai Kartdrome 24 Hours, the final round of the 2014 Endurance Challenge driven by Mini.
The Spaniard entered a team under the name of Puntonas with himself, his Ferrari engineer Andrea Stella and McLaren test driver Stoffel Vandoorne all taking to the track where they came up against the UAE’s best leisure kart drivers, along with a host of international teams.
The Puntonas drivers had very little track time, relative to their rivals, nevertheless Vandoorne qualified 14th, and then he managed to make his way into the top six within the first hour of the race.
At the sharp end, setting the pace throughout qualifying and the early stages of the race were championship contenders Batelco and CG Racing Pro, the Bahrain team with Alban Varutti on duty starting from pole with CG Racing Pro’s David Terrien, starting from fifth, chasing hard and within the first half hour they were up to second.
Forza Union Russia were best of the formidable international contingent, qualifying seventh and making their way to third and leading the Nations Cup early on, followed by Dubai-5 made up of all Emirati drivers.
CG Racing 1 were the early pace setters in the Corporate Category, with Lukoil Racing Team keeping them in their sights.
The first hour set the stage for what will be a titanic tussle across the field with the three titles – Pro Category, Corporate Category and Nations Cup – to be decided in this race, the final of the four rounds series.
Kartdorme manager Ryan Trutch said: “We are privileged to have a driver of Fernando Alonso’s stature compete in our race, along with his team which includes the highly talented Stoffel Vandoorne. They have done remarkably well to cope with the challenges, given that they had never driven before at the Kartdrome.”
“Fernando has asked for, and received, no special treatment, endearing himself to the other drivers and teams with his passion and dedication to the cause – namely doing well out on track,” added Trutch.
The 29-strong field was flagged off at 12 noon on Friday at the Kartdrome, and the chequered flag will bring proceedings to an end at 12 noon on Saturday.