Although Khalid Al Qubaisi stole the limelight in his history making win in the 2013 Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai, fellow Emirati race driver Saeed Al Mehairi also celebrated on the top step of the Dubai Autodrome podium as he was part of the Lap57 effort which triumphed in the closely contested A2 Class.
The team came close last year with second place, but did the business in this year's eighth edition of the race. Adding to the remarkable result is the fact that their car is built, developed and maintained in Dubai by UAE based crew.
The team completed 498 laps and 17 pit stops during the course of the 24 hours, eventually winning the A2 Class by six laps.
Mehairi was all smiles as he descended the Dubai Autodrome podium stairs clutching his class winner’s trophy, "Last year we were second, we had some mechanical problems. This year we turned it all around and we made it. We won the class!"
"It was an amazing race, and an amazing event," declared Al Mehairi. "The team worked hard throughout the 24 hours, we had a few problems during the race including a crash early on.
At that stage we were second in the class, after the incident we dropped back to ninth. It was all about hard work, team work, and adapting the strategy. This we did and really I want to thank the team for a fantastic effort."
Al Mehairi is no stranger to Dubai Autodrome, where he launched his career when he was chosen, out of 1500 Emirati candidates, as one of three drivers to be part of the 2008 HSBC Racing Academy which was run under the auspices of Dubai Autodrome.
Despite having won many times over the boulevard at the Kartdrome, Mehairi had yet to taste victory at Dubai Autodrome main track. He chose to do so at the most high profile event of the year at the venue.
"This is really special for me as it is the first time I have ever finished first at Dubai Autodrome. I have won many times at the Kartdrome over the road so to do it on the big track too is an amazing feeling. I can't really describe it. I am happy and excited."
Adrenalin, drama and tension all make it almost impossible for drivers to get decent sleep in between their stints and Al Mehiari admitted, "I only slept for a couple of hours over the 24 hours and I am so tired, but the adrenalin is pumping. I am sure by the time I get back home I am going to be 'dead'."
Al Mehairi could not say enough about the Lap57 squad and the enormous effort everyone connected to the team put in to achieve the result on their biggest day.
"I hope we can keep the team together for next year, because we want to win again," was Al Mehairi's parting shot.