Race Day 2: Grand Racing at Dubai Autodrome

Heavy rains force officials to cancel the second day of racing at the circuit

Overnight torrential rains in Dubai served to flood many areas in and around Dubai Autodrome forcing officials to cancel the final day of the two day Grand Racing event. Several corners and the pitlane of the circuit were submerged under water, at some points the water level was over 1 meter deep.

The Federation International Automobile (FIA) Stewards of the meeting released this statement at 11.15am on Saturday: "Following a track inspection by the race directors of the FIA GT3 Championship, GP2 Asia and the Speedcar Series it is their collective view that the volume of water on the track, and the likelihood of there being any improvement during the day, would make it impossible to run any races safely. The Stewards of the Meeting therefore in accordance with Article 141 of the 2008 FIA International Sporting Code have accepted their advice and cancel all races today."

Dubai Autodrome General Executive Hamish Brown commented on the unfortunate situation, "We accept and agree with the decision of the Stewards and the FIA to cancel the final day of Grand racing. The rain has not only affected the race circuit area but made the access to Dubai Autodrome virtually impossible causing traffic back ups for several kilometers. Silt and debris has washed on to the circuit which exacerbated the problem. This is not helped by the fact that heavy rain continued this morning. It is a sad situation as we know thousands of fans were looking forward to this the final day, numerous teams and their personnel have put in a big effort to be here to race and of course a large number of support staff have been on hand to make this event possible."

When asked about refunds for fans who have bought tickets Mr Brown said, "Any spectator who has bought tickets specifically for today (Saturday, 6 December) reuse the ticket for our next international event or possible refund. We will consider all claims related to the cancellation on a case by case basis. Please refer to www.dubaiautodrome.com for further information and contact details."

FIA GT3 General Manager, Patricia Kiefer said of the cancellation, "We are disappointed and very sorry for the Dubai Autodrome which has put together such an exceptional event, with three great series such as the Speedcar, GP2 Asian Series and the FIA GT3 European Championship. Yesterday, we had a wonderful day of racing, and the crowds present proved the success of the concept. Fortunately, the FIA GT3 European Championship titles were decided after the first race and we would like to congratulate our 2008 Champions, James Ruffier, Arnaud Peyroles and Matech GT Racing. We also would like to thank the Dubai Autodrome and all involved for their warm welcome, and look forward to returning to Dubai next year."

Speedcar Series Operations Director Claudio Berro commented on the decision, ""It is incredible that in Dubai it has rained four times in the last week and now again on race day. The storm was so strong that the circuit organisers didn't have a chance to save the event and that has been very unfortunate for us, GP2 Asia Series and FIA GT3."

Dubai Autodrome Track Manager Richard Birch, "This is some of the worst flooding I have encountered at the circuit. A couple of years ago we had a similar situation but were fortunate that the rains did not affect a major event as it has done this weekend. It is a shame as there was a very good crowd yesterday (Friday) and we were expecting a big crowd again today (Saturday) as the weekend falls conveniently during the holiday period. However nothing could be done about the rain that has unfortunately stopped play."

Heavy rains fell over the Dubailand 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.

Mr Brown concluded by saying, "We are now in the Eid holiday period and would advise spectators seeking information on the status of their purchased tickets to make enquiries from 10 December 2008 onwards by contacting the Dubai Autodrome office."

-credit: dubaiautodrome.com