Qubaisi targets Dubai hat trick

The UAE’s Khaled Al Qubaisi has immediately set his sights on another endurance racing triumph in Dubai next month after securing a new place in the motor racing record books.

Sharing the driving with Germany’s Bernd Schneider and Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen for Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon, Al Qubaisi became the first Emirati to taste victory in the Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit at the weekend.

Completing a hat-trick of wins in next month’s Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai is now the next target for Al Qubaisi, who doubles up in motor racing as one of the UAE’s most successful competitors, and managing director of Abu Dhabi Racing.

“We were up against some very tough opposition and it was fantastic to win the Gulf 12 Hours in the way that we did,” said Al Qubaisi. “Now we want to do the same in Dubai, and take the 24 Hours title there for the third year in a row.

Added Al Qubaisi: “I was very happy with my performance. During all my sessions behind the wheel I managed to increase the gap between myself and the nearest challenger.

“It was my home city, my home track so it was a very important win for me. What it has done is to show that we are a very professional team that’s right at the top level of this sport. We have proved that we can compete with, and beat, the best.”

The size of the achievement by Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon, which is supported by Abu Dhabi Racing, was highlighted by the way they dominated the event, despite the world-class field assembled at Yas Marina Circuit. The Italian AF Course team, LMGTE Pro title winners in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship, have won the Gulf 12 Hours title two years in a row, while a powerful new Bentley Continental GT3 also mounted a serious challenge.

“The AF Course team said that they had problems with their tyres, but we beat them fair and square,” said Al Qubaisi. “At no point in the race were they better than us.”

Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon, who cruised to a one-minute and 41-seconds win, had carried the name of Sean Edwards on their car and helmets to honour the driver killed in a track day accident in October.

“We’d lost a very dear friend in Sean and so this victory is dedicated to him,” said Al Qubaisi. “I know he would have been watching, and he would have been proud of us.”

Al Qubaisi has been making a habit over the last two years of finding his way into the record books. He became the first Emirati to be part of a winning team in the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai, and after a successful title defence last January became the first UAE driver to contest the legendary 24 Horus of Le Mans in June. At the weekend he was the first Emirati to start from pole position in the Gulf 12 Hours.

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