24H Saudi Falcons miss out on podium in dying seconds of 24h Dubai 2012
24h DUBAI 2012, January 11-14, 2012
SAUDI FALCONS MISS OUT ON DUBAI 24-HOUR
PODIUM IN DYING SECONDS OF THRILLING RACE
· 24h Dubai 2012 victory falls to Abu Dhabi Black Falcon team
· Engine woes ruin Saudi Falcons 2’s challenge in marathon race
DUBAI (UAE), Tuesday, January 14th, 2012: The Saudi Falcons Team, in association with Schubert Motorsport, missed out on a podium finish in the 24h Dubai 2012 in the closing corners of a thrilling race, when team driver Edward Sandstrom missed his braking point three corners from the end and spun. The resultant delay meant that the team finished fourth overall in their BMW Z4 GT3 on the challenging 5.39km Dubai Autodrome circuit.
Mercedes SLS AMG GT3s filled the top three places, with Emirati Khaled Al-Qubaisi, England’s Sean Edwards, Dutchman Jeroen Bleekmolen and Germany’s Thomas Jager winning the race in the Abu Dhabi Black Falcon 3 car. Second place fell to Bernd Schneider’s team in the Heico 1 Motorsport 6 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 and the second Heico 1 Motorsport Mercedes was third.
Saudi Falcons 1, crewed by Abdulaziz bin Turki al Faisal, Sweden’s Edward Sandstrom and the German duo of Jorg Müller and Claudia Hürtgen, were challenging for the lead for the first 19 hours of the race, but a stone damaged the engine’s air filter and cost the team vital time.
“It was a disappointing outcome for us” said Saudi Falcons team engineer Stefan Wentl. “We were chasing hard for nearly 20 hours and then a stone damaged the air filter and we lost the time making the repairs.”
The BMW Z4 GT3 team forced their way back into contention and only missed out on the podium by 8.2 seconds after a sterling fight back by Sandstrom over the closing laps. “I am disappointed to have made the mistake,” admitted the Swede. “Maybe I was thinking too much about the position, but I braked hard into a corner, three from the end, and spun. That was the fine margin between the podium and fourth place.”
The second of the Saudi Falcons team’s BMW Z4 GT3s, driven by the Saudi Arabian trio of Fahad Al-Gosaibi, Bandar Alesayi and Faisal bin Laden and Germany’s Marko Hartung set some excellent lap times early in the race and were competitive from the outset. But the engine’s fan belt failed and this led to engine damage. Team mechanics and engineers changed the power plant in around six and a half hours, but there was no way that the Saudi Falcons team could make up the lost time.
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