24h: QMMF driver Amro Al Hamad takes podium on his grueling 24hr of Zolder debut
Doha, Monday 22nd, August 2016 –After completing a grueling 24h of Zolder, QMMF backed driver Amro Al Hamad and his Bas Koeten Racing team were denied the results they had hoped. The team although fast, suffered technical issues and fought hard for a podium place and third in the prototype class.
Amro joined up with co-drivers Thomas Piessens, Stienes Longin and Sven van Laere in this historic long distance race. Starting very well in practice and qualifying, the team went on in the Superpole to take a top P2 grid position to start the race from the front row. With Longin starting the race they were quick to take an early lead in the first lap, until only a few hours later the car suffered transmission and engine issues just as heavy rain started to fall on the Zolder circuit.
Having to pit so early on in the race for repairs dropped the car down the grid to 30th position and into the night Amro and his co-drivers had to double their stints at three hours each to make any advance up the leaderboard. Just as the rain began to fall again in the early morning the team pulled together and managed to climb back up to 4th position overall which was a great result after a night of pressure and suspense.
Certainly the team at this point dared to dream that they could almost be within reach of the overall podium until in the final six hours, a fire started in the car causing a lengthy pit stop to fix the wiring, dropping the team again back down the grid again into 23rd position.
As the team worked tirelessly to mend the car time was ticking by as they waited to know if they would be able to start the car again and finish the remainder of the race.
“It was a roller-coaster of emotions for us and a very tough race. After such a positive start everything was going to plan. The car was perfect all throughout Practice and Qualifying but just didn’t want to play the game during the race. The rain didn’t help and the car being a prototype was not the ideal car for those weather conditions, but saying that we did get the fastest lap of the entire race and I am really happy and relieved to reach a podium in such difficult conditions.”
“The team worked extremely well under such pressure and it’s due to the mechanics and team working so hard that we even reached the podium at all, everyone did a great professional job and I am proud we got a reward of 3rd in our class for our efforts”, commented Amro.
Proudly carrying the banner of the Qatar Motor & Motor Cycle Federation, Amro commented, “I am very proud to have the support from my Federation who without them I would not be here to raise the Qatar flag on the podium. I cannot thank QMMF President Mr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Mannai, enough for the encouragement and support, it means the world to me.”