Dubai 24h: Heartache for Qatar’s ace driver Amro Al Hamad as team suffer setback in final hour of Dubai 24 hrs
Doha, Jan 21st, 2016 –The recent Dubai 24hrs proved to be one of the toughest for many top teams, including Qatars top circuit racer, Amro Al Hamad, campaigning his second 24hrs endurance race at Dubai Autodrome. Unfortunately having fought hard for a continuous 23hours the team would suffer total mechanical failure in the last hour.
Joining Amro in car #92 were Australian drivers Jake Camilleri and Morgan Haber and Dutch driver Milan Dontje.
The team qualified in P5 in the popular SP2 class with the MARC Cars 500bhp 5.0Ltr Ford Focus V8, specialized for endurance racing. The team held the position during the first hours of the race, during the night the team fought hard and moved up into P3 where they stayed for most of the race.
“The race itself is crazy this year with 98 cars starting the race, something I have never experienced before, a mix between GT3 cars down to small touring cars in the A2 class which made the big difference in speed and the traffic so busy. It was very competitive this year as the faster Porsche 997 Cars have been merged into our class (SP2) which made it difficult for us since the Porsches are much faster than our cars.”
“Our main strategy was to stay out of trouble and make it through the night without any incidents and push to the max from the early hours of light till the end of the race as we already expected a lot of cars to leave the race by the end of the 12 hours, marking the mid point of the race.”
During the early morning the team was hit by another car, starting off the roller-coaster of repairs and technical difficulties for the team.
“After being hit, the car spun out on track and stayed there unable to be restarted for 15 complete laps till we got towed back to the pits for repairs and restarting it. Luckily we had pulled a big enough gap on the following car in P4 that we maintained our P3 position when we got going again.”
“After the completion of 21 hours of the race Milan was next on the car when we started suffering from gearbox problems and had to go back to the pits for a gearbox change which took around an hour and then it was my turn to drive. I was informed by the team that the car will have no Communication, electronics, ABS or power steering and we still suffered from some gearbox problems. I stayed in the car for around an hour pushing her around which wasn’t easy I can tell you.”
“After the driver change at the 23hrs mark, I swapped with Morgan, who drove the car out of the pits and the car decided to stop, two corners down from the pits and refused to start again, and that marked the end of our participation in the 24hrs.”
In the end the MARC Cars Australia team did all they did to put the car together after the first crash and managed to change the gearbox in a record time to maintain the P3 position, which would have resulted undoubtedly in another podium finish. However the first crash did a lot more damage than was first thought, and the team could not rectify everything in one go.
“I would like to thank Jake Camilleri, Milan Dontje, Morgan Haber my team mates along with team boss Ryan McLeod the Marc Cars Australia crew for the opportunity and for all the hard work invested. It’s a real shame to finish like this so close to the final flag, but we have to take the hard knocks together as a team knowing we put in a good performance, right to the end we never gave up”.
Amro hopes to participate again in the International endurance series, representing Qatar in international racing around the world. He is continuing to pursue sponsors who will partner with him to achieve this goal.
The Dubai 24hrs was broadcast Live in Europe on Motors TV and across the Middle East on GearOne TV. The 24hseries also streams the live broadcast via their website at www.live.24hseries.com.