Victory for UAE karting team in France

The UAE team NFM Professionals led by Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum powered to a sensational victory in the 24 hours Racing Kart de Cormeilles endurance race in France. Also in the team were Emirati driver Saeed Al Mehairi and Dubai based Ramez Azzam and Frenchman Alban Varutti.

The team which was to have included Christophe Hissette, who passed away under tragic circumstances last week, dedicated the win to their team mate with a simple post race statement, “Thank you to everyone who supported us. We dedicate this hard earned victory to Christophe Hissette and his family.”

The NFM Professionals presence at the race was due to them winning the 2009 Nivea for Men Endurance Challenge which entitled the Champion team, from the Dubai Kartdrome based 24 hours series, to contest the prestigious race in France alongside top endurance karting teams.

Managed by Mike Wilkes and assisted by Frederic Gerbier, the NFM Professionals triumphed over a top class field of 42 teams in a race which was packed with drama and intrigue. Conditions were very tough as much of the race was run under rain conditions.

The team showed their intent early by taking pole position in qualifying with Varutti in inspired form. The start saw them drop down the leader board and after the first couple of hours the NFM Professionals were in a strong fourth place. Before mid-distance, about eight hours into the race the NFM Professionals took the lead which they proceeded to consolidate through the night. By morning they had a seven lap lead over their closest challengers.

The final hours were nail biting as the team started to pay the price for penalties during the course of the event, but the foursome of Sheikh Hasher, Al Mehairi, Azzam and Varutti were driving like they have never driven before as a collective. When the chequered flag finally dropped it was a famous victory for the UAE team, they completed 1,143 laps and three more than second placed CER Racing and third placed Excuz France 1.

Elated and clearly emotional the four winning drivers stood proudly on the top step of the podium, of the circuit near Paris, to receive their first place trophy, clutching the UAE flag proudly as the UAE national anthem filled the French air.

Organiser of the Dubai Kartdrome 24 hour karting championship, David Terrien said after hearing the news of NFM Professionals triumph in France, “In the light of the sad and stressful week that the UAE motorsport community has undergone, this victory by the NFM Professionals in France is massive. Really an unbelievable effort by Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum, Saeed Al Mehairi, Ramez Azzam, Alban Varutti with great management by Mike Wilkes assisted by Frederic Gerbier. You simply could not script such a scenario. The touching circumstances of this victory will go down in history of motorsport in the UAE and there is no better way to honour the memory of Christophe Hissette. Bravo!.”

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