DXB24 Saudi Falcons Team BMWs forced to retire from Dubai 24Hr Race
24h DUBAI 2013, January 10-12, 2013
SAUDI FALCONS TEAM BMW Z4s BOTH FORCED TO RETIRE
FROM DUBAI 24H RACE AT DUBAI AUTODROME
· Saudi Falcons BMWs qualify in fourth and fifth for Dubai race
DUBAI (UAE), Saturday, January 12th, 2013: The Saudi Falcons Team, in association with Schubert Motorsport, endured a disappointing outing at the Dunlop 24Hr Dubai 2013, the first circuit endurance race of the new season, which took place at the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome circuit at the weekend.
Both of the team’s 4.4-litre V8 BMW Z4 GT3s, developing in the region of 515bhp at 8,200rpm, were challenging for the leading positions early in the race but fate dictated that the team will have to wait until 2014 to achieve the goal of winning the race. The number 24 car was actually leading the race during the early hours of darkness.
The Saudi Falcons Team Schubert cars were crewed by Saudi drivers Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal and Faisal bin Laden, Austrian Dominik Baumann and the German quintet of Dominik Schwager, Dirk Adorf, Jörg Müller, Claudia Hürtgen and Dirk Müller. Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal was very competitive during his stint behind the wheel and he set some excellent lap times and matched the works drivers.
The BMWs had qualified in fourth and fifth for the start of the race and Saudi Falcons Team Schubert 2 was running in a podium position for long periods and was still in contention to win the race on Saturday morning – after almost 19 hours of racing – until team driver Jörg Müller sensed something was wrong with the engine and pulled his BMW into the in-field. The disappointment came after Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal had guided the car back from third to second position during his morning stint and was only 2min 30sec away from the lead.
The car was towed back to the pits by race officials and Schubert Motorsport staff set about trying to find out what had gone wrong. A problem was discovered with the oil pump and race mechanics tried in vain to get the car going again as the clock ticked down and the chance of a podium finish disappeared.
Saudi Falcons Team Schubert 2 endured cruel luck. With 84 cars taking part in the race and traffic heavy on the circuit at all times, race officials decided to replace a red flag with a Code 60 ruling, meaning that drivers would have to adhere to a 60km/h speed limit during a racing incident.
Dominik Schwager was running well after around 5hrs 20min of the race until a Code 60 was given and his BMW Z4 was rear-ended at speed by another car. The Z4 was badly damaged and it took a long time for team mechanics to repair the damage and get the car out on the track again. Unfortunately, after a suspension change the car retired with exhaust manifold problems that could only be rectified with lengthy work on the engine.
“It is unfortunate that we didn’t finish the race,” reflected Stephan Wendl, Schubert Motorsport team manager. “We had a great line-up and our guys were doing very well. The car number 12 was hit from behind and we had to retire early in the race. Such incidents happen in motor sport. We had a very good run in car 24 and, after many changes in the set-up, we had the fastest car on the grid. We were catching the Ferrari and it was two seconds ahead of us a lap before we retired. We had an oil pump problem, so the engine stopped and we had to retire.
“Both our Saudi drivers did an excellent job and I was very satisfied with their performance. Faisal didn’t have chance to show all his potential and Abdulaziz did tremendous work throughout the race.!
Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen had qualified Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon on pole position in his Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, alongside Emirati Khaled Al-Qubaisi, England’s Sean Edwards and German veteran Bernt Schneider. The Attempto Racing-Porsche qualified second in the 82-car field. The Craft Racing AMR-Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was third and the Saudi Falcons Team Schubert-BMW Z4 GT3s were fourth and fifth.
The race was officially started in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Attempto Racing Porsche 997 GTR3R moved into an early lead until a fuel line broke and there was a small fire, but Claudia Hartgen also began well in the leading Saudi Falcons Team Schubert car.
Saudi Falcons Team Schubert 2 held fourth overall in the hands of Dirk Muller – one lap and 32 seconds behind the leaders - as the race passed the 10-hour mark. Bleekemolen led the way in Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon with 257 laps on the board, but Saudi Falcon 1 was still in the pits with Dominik Schwager waiting to take the helm. The car was classified in 69th position and over 130 laps behind the leaders before retiring.
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