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Dec 10, 2013 - 11:18 AM
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Black Falcon Aim To Swoop For Gulf 12 Hours Victory In Abu Dhabi
Posted by: newsla on Dec 10, 2013 - 11:13 AM
Sports Cars
Black Falcon Aim To Swoop For Gulf 12 Hours Victory In Abu Dhabi


The UAE’s Khaled Al Qubaisi says Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon are ready to mount a powerful bid this weekend to prevent an Italian hat-trick of victories in the Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit.

 

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Sharing the driving with Germany’s Bernd Schneider and Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen in the lead AMG SLS GT3, Al Qubaisi wants a win on his home track to lay the foundations for the team’s own attempt at a third success in a row in next month’s Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai.

First, the Emirati driver, five-time German Touring Car champion Schneider and Bleekemolen face a tough task in Abu Dhabi as the formidable Italian AF Course team, LMGTE Pro title winners in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship, aim to add to their Gulf 12 Hours triumphs in 2011 and last year. They have entered four Ferrari 458 Italias.

The 2102 race at Yas Marina Circuit served as an appetiser for a concentrated effort this time for Al Qubaisi, who partnered two gentlemen drivers 12 months ago as Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon finished in ninth place.

“We were not serious challengers last year, but we definitely intend to be this time,” said Al Qubaisi, with this weekend’s Black Falcon bid being supported by Abu Dhabi Racing.

“We’re competing against strong teams from around the world, and AF Course will be very hard to beat after their wins over the last two years. But we have prepared well for this year’s race, and if we can avoid any big problems, we believe there’s a realistic chance of victory.”

Bleekemolen takes the place of Sean Edwards, the young British driver killed tragically in a track day accident in Australia in October.

Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon, who have entered two AMG SLS GT3s, will carry Edwards’ name on the cars and on the drivers’ helmets, and will be raising awareness in the UAE of the foundation carrying his name.

“This is a very emotional week, as Sean was due to be sharing the driving in the first car, and he would have been staying with myself and my family,” said Al Qubaisi.

“I was very close to him. I’d known him since we started racing together in 2009. He coached me for a full season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East and helped me a lot. I’d love to win for him this weekend.”

Dutchman Klaas Hummel, Britain’s Adam Christodoulou and Sweden’s Andreas Simonsen will drive the second Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon car in the Gulf 12 Hours, which has attracted 32 entries from Italy, Germany, the US, France, the UK, Switzerland and the UAE.

The mighty assembly of endurance racing cars will first take to the track at Yas Marina Circuit for an untimed test session starting at 5pm on Wednesday, with more testing to follow on Thursday morning prior to afternoon qualifying.

Friday’s event follows a special two-part format, with teams battling for victory over two six-hour races, separated by a two-hour break in which they can work on their cars. The second half of the race features day and night racing by an impressive assembly of GT3, GT4 and Porsche Cup cars.


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