Rains in Dubai wash away My Qi Meritus.Mahara team's Dubai goals
Saturday, December 06, 2008 - Heavy rains fell over the Dubai area for a couple of hours on early Saturday morning which caused chaos throughout the area, blocking traffic for most of the morning in and around Emirates Road in the vicinity of Arabian Ranches. The overnight storms also caused excessive flooding at the Dubai Autodrome. Access to the circuit was difficult and already early in the morning it seemed highly improbable that the last day of The Grand Racing weekend at Dubai Autodrome on 5-6 December 2008 that kicks off the international motorsport season in the UAE could take place.
Indeed as time drew closer to the start of the event, the pit lane and access roads were still too flooded to run the last day of the racing weekend on the 5.93km long track. Several corners and the pit lane of the circuit were submerged under water, and at some points the water level was over 1 metre deep.
Rookie driver Earl Bamber flew back to New Zealand and Malaysian Alex Yoong prepared to take off back to Malaysia where that race is the final event of the year on the 2008 GP2 Asia calendar.
Peter Thompson, Team founder My Qi Meritus.Mahara team concluded: "We leave Dubai with a heavy heart during a successful weekend even if we did not score points. Not only the team was not able to race in front of the 5,000 guests invited to support them in the grand-stand by their sponsor Qi, but they also were not able to welcome JumJum the Dubai character nor the kids invited along with the UAE Down's Syndrome Association and the Sweet Kidz, Diabetic Children to come watch the Dubai Grand Racing. We hope that no one is too disappointed."
"Overall, this weekend, the team was fastest with Earl Bamber, the rookie and youngest ever driver in GP2 Asia who was also th e youngest driver on the grid, ranked first. Earl (only 18 years old) also showed the good shape of the team in the first practice part of qualifying, being fastest with the first set of tyres. Then Earl's car had a defect tyre in the second set that pushed him back in position 16 of the race's starting grid. During race 1, Bamber pushed hard and worked himself back into position 9. The team encountered a problem in the pit stop with the front left hand tire that was too degraded and had to be changed. That took up a few more seconds than expected. After the pit stop, Earl ranked eighth until we thought at first that Earl had encountered a problem with the engine. The engineers discovered that it was the fuel pick-up pipe inside the fuel tank that broke a few laps before the end.
"In spite of these problems is was a positive week-end," Continued Peter Thompson who went on to add: "Somehow, I was surprised that Earl, the My Qi-Meritus.Mahara 18 year old team rookie was the talk of the paddock this weekend. No one among the GP2 European team managers had really heard of him because, until now, Bamber has only raced in Asia during his career, except for one Masters race in Imola that he won and two podiums in A1 with A1 Team New Zealand."
"As for Alex, his spin in free practice cost him the week-end as he lost a lot of track-time. But he managed good lap-time in qualifying. Now Alex is more comfortable with the team, and we even decided to change his car giving him Earl's car from our first weekend of racing in Shanghai."
"Team My Qi-Meritus.Mahara are now looking towards the third race of the calendar in Bahrain. We are starting our preparations for the race in Bahrain with the engineers, Alex Yoong and Earl Bamber and hope to continue on the right track like we started this year in Shanghai with a podium."