12h: Victory for Qatar driver Amro Al Hamad in Zandvoort 12hr with MARC Cars team

12h: Victory for Qatar driver Amro Al Hamad in Zandvoort 12hr with MARC Cars team
First place for the MARC cars team in Zandvoort - Image supplied by Stephen Hurn

First place for the MARC cars team in Zandvoort

Doha, June 1st 2015- Qatar’s Amro Al Hamad tasted sweet glory in this latest round of the FIA Endurance Series in the Netherlands, contesting the grueling Zandvoort 12hr event, winning the SP2 class.

Victory was hard fought for the team at the famous beachside Grand Prix circuit on the Dutch North Sea coast. Amro had once again teamed up MARC Cars team from Australia with former BTCC champion from the UK, James Kaye joined by Ben Gersekowski, Australia’s Formula 3 front runner and Australian V8 Supercar driver, Garry Jacobsen driving the specially developed 500 BHP Ford Focus, 5.0Ltr V8.

Image supplied by Stephen Hurn

Pit stop during qualifying in the torrential rain

Amro had his first taste of the torrid coastal downpour during his practice session to get familiar with the race track and try different set ups for the coming race.

The 12hr race had been split up into two parts due to noise regulations: the first three hours of the race took place on Friday afternoon, with the remaining nine hours to be run on Saturday 30th.

“The track was totally new to me and in reality it can’t be compared to any onboard videos or simulators in preparation; I just had to get on with it. During the track walk I was amazed how historic the track was and the turns were extremely challenging so I had to adjust really quick to catch up with the other drivers lap times,” commented Amro.

Qualifying was mostly dry as team mates Ben Greskowski and Garry Jacobs completed the two qualification sessions placing the car 16th on the grid for the start. By the end of the short three hour race both Ben and Gary had managed to climb up to P2 in the SP2 class, the cars were then parked up for the night, untouched by the team in parc ferme.

The next morning, under glorious sunshine, Amro had his chance to get behind the wheel, re-starting the race in 16th place, he managed to gain another four places taking the team into P1 in class during his first hour behind the wheel. Then he changed over with James Kaye as they each rotated after every hour and half.

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#91 MARC Car in action at Zandvoort -Image supplied by Stephen Hurn

All was not easy during the third stint for James Kaye as he was hit by another car spinning the #91 MARC car into the gravel, and for the next two laps they would see the P1 position slip away to the sister #92 MARC Car team who leaped ahead. After being towed out by the rescue team, and suffering no damage, Amro’s team now had to consistently chip away at the lead cars advantage.

In a dynamic twist of fortune, with one hour 40 minutes before the end of the race, the sister #92 car spun off and got stuck in the gravel and with a flat battery, it had to be towed to the pits which gave the #91 car back the lead again in the SP2 class, with both Ben and Garry behind the wheel they retained the position to take victory and 12th position overall from 50 cars.

Track CPZ_800pix

The uniquely situated Zandvoort Park Circuit is situated adjacent to the beach on the Dutch North Sea coast.

Commenting after the race Amro had this to say, “The week was both hectic and calm at the same time, we didn’t have any problems with the car and the MARC Cars team had prepared it really well. For me personally I struggled with the car during the wet weather, as I am not used to pushing a V8 car and rear wheel drive in the wet around a race track. I gained the knowledge though, which will benefit me in the future European races im sure.”

“I have learnt a lot through this racing weekend and I am so delighted because of the result, the hard work paid off at the end, we weren’t the quickest car out there, up against some fast GT3 cars but we just kept away from trouble to protect the car and tried to be as consistent as possible. It was great to team up with Ben, Garry and James again and add to our podium success from the Dubai 24 Hours, now we can add this Zandvoort 12hr victory to our trophy cabinet.”

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