Abu Dhabi, UAE, 22 May, 2013: Abu Dhabi’s Khalid Al Qubaisi says a first taste of success in the Nurburgring 24 Hours in Germany with the Black Falcons racing team has made him hungry for more in the legendary event next year.
The Emirati driver achieved his top-20 target when he linked up with Britain’s Vimal Mehta and Germans Daniel Keilwitz and Christian Bracke to take the team’s No.2 car, sponsored by Abu Dhabi Racing, to a 19th place finish out of 180 starters on his first appearance in the event last weekend.
Al Qubaisi then joined in the celebrations after the combination of Germany’s Bernd Schneider, Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen, Britain’s Sean Edwards and Dane Nicki Thiim won the event in the team’s lead Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGT GT3.
“We had targeted a top-20 finish, so I was happy with that, but of course I was thrilled that the Black Falcons managed to win the race outright with our lead car.
“Now I’m already looking forward to being in the first car next year. This team means a lot to me. I’m very close to all the drivers and it would be fantastic if we could win again next year.”
Run in front of 210,000 spectators on the famous Nordschleife circuit, the 41st edition of the Nurburgring 24 Hours was an incident-packed affair, with torrential rain and fog causing a 9 ½ hour suspension of the action late on Sunday evening.
When the race re-started the following morning, the Black Falcons quartet of Schneider, Bleekemolen, Edwards and Thiim produced a battling performance to score the first ever victory in the event by a Mercedes-Benz team. The third Black Falcons car driven by Ukraine’s Andril Lebed, Sweden’s Andreas Simonsen, Germany’s Dennis Rostek and Swiss Harald Proczyc finished well down the field following mechanical problems.
“It was cold and wet, and very challenging,’ said Al Qubaisi, a board member of Abu Dhabi Racing. “I drove one session in the rain, and a lot of cars had accidents and went out.”
The Emirati now looks forward to contesting four rounds of this season’s Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, two in Abu Dhabi and the others at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Monza in Italy.
His next major target will then be to help the Black Falcons to a third successive victory in the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai next January, when the team will again be backed by Abu Dhabi Racing, which is working to increase Emirati participation in international motorsport. Al Qubaisi is already in the record books as the first UAE driver to celebrate overall victory in the event.