Dubai 24H: Al Qubaisi vows to fight for victory next year

Podium finish the consolation for Emirati driver as overnight problems end hopes of another big win for Abu Dhabi Racing.

Dubai, UAE - The UAE’s Khaled Al Qubaisi vowed to return next year to fight for another victory in the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai after a string of mechanical problems denied Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon a hat-trick of victories in the dramatic endurance race.

#1 Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon Mercedes SLS AMG GT3: Khaled Al Qubaisi, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Bernd Schneider, Andreas Simonsen
#1 Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon Mercedes SLS AMG GT3: Khaled Al Qubaisi, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Bernd Schneider, Andreas Simonsen

Photo by: Dubai Autodrome

The partnership of Al Qubaisi, Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen, Germany’s Bernd Schneider and Sweden’s Andreas Simonsen had looked firmly in control before a series of problems in the early hours today dropped the team’s No.1 Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 from the lead, and eventually out of the race.

The consolation for Al Qubaisi and Bleekemolen is that they took third place overall at Dubai Autodrome in the team’s No.2 AMG SLS GT3 in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal, German Hubert Haupt and Britain’s Adam Christodoulou.

“We definitely want to keep this team together and hopefully we’ll back next year to win again,” said Al Qubaisi, who had wanted another victory for Abu Dhabi Racing to follow on from last month’s superb win in the Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit.

For much of the race, it seemed that he would get his wish. “Of course we’re disappointed not to win because the No.1 car was going so well before we had our problems,” he said at the finish, as Swiss-based Stadler Motorsport celebrated victory in their Porsche 997 GT3 R.

“The car was a winner. It was in a league of its own, just blasting away before things started to go wrong. Just before midnight we had electrical problems when the exhaust broke.

“We lost 18 laps fixing it, and then we had more problems in the morning and that was the end of the race for that car.

“Then we had to focus on Car no.2, which had also had some mishaps here and there, including the door getting stuck, and spent around 20 minutes in the pits overall, putting us down by ten laps.

“Near the end I lost the car and avoided the wall just by an inch, and then I lost all my brakes and ABS and had to take it easy to the end of the race.

“Our consolation was to take third place with car No.2, and given all the things that happened to us, I’m pleasantly surprised that we finished on the podium.”

Khalid Al Qubaisi

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About this article
Series ENDURANCE
Article type Race reports
Tags al qubaisi, dubai 24, endurance