WEC: Abu Dhabi Proton team achieve amazing podium finish after starting in last place in Austin
Abu Dhabi, 21st September 2015 – Team Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing consisting of UAE circuit racing champion Khaled Al Qubaisi, Christian Ried and the 24H of Le Mans winner Earl Bamber, came 2nd in LMGTE class at round 5 of the FIA World Endurance Championship – 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas.
The team showed remarkable form and fought their way back from last place to come 2nd behind the wheel of the no.88 Porsche 911 RSR (LMGTE Am). Initially Team Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing were hampered by technical issues that prevented them from taking part in Qualifying which meant that they started from the back of the grid in the race.
However, the race day started well with a smooth start by Christian Ried from the back of the grid who gained a place in the 1st lap. In hour 2, Khaled Al Qubaisi took over from Ried and Team Abu Dhabi Racing jumped to 4th position after the 1st pit stop. The team continued to make steady progress with Bamber posting a fastest lap (2:07.177) taking the team into second place just 0.015secs behind the leader.
In the 4th hour Reid suffered from a puncture causing the team to drop back to 5th position. The team kept fighting however and Al Qubaisi gained a place in hour 5 taking the team back up to 4th place. In the final hour Bamber continued to close the gap in the last hour of the race posting consistently quick lap times, taking two more positions to end the day in 2nd place with fastest lap time (2:06.227).
Al Qubaisi said: “Despite the issues we had during qualifying we remained positive and were in high spirits on race day. To start in last place and come 2nd is a fantastic achievement and I believe we could have won without the puncture that lost us around 45 seconds. It was definitely a tough race but we are very happy of course because we were able to show that we have the pace and ability to compete for the top positions. I’m happy with the car, the team and the result”
Next FIA WEC round will be the 6 hours of Fuji – Japan on the 11th of October.