Kuwait, January 20th 2016- Kuwaiti endurance specialist Khaled Al Mudhaf, gave a star performance in his return to racing. The number 001 licence holder from Kuwait, joined the Dragon Racing Ferrari 458 squad from Dubai once again, piloting the same ProAm winning car from 2014.
Khaled, showcased his speed and consistency teaming up with Ferrari pro test driver Matt Griffin, Alex Kapadia, John Hartshorne and Rob Barff.
The team racked up a total of 545 laps of the 5.39 km Dubai Autodrome circuit, the race however was not without its drama for the locally based Ferrari team. A record number of 98 cars started the race this year, and there were numerous incidents, particularly during the first half of the race where a few of the top teams including the Dragon teams sister car #88 fell foul to accident damage. The Dragon #888 team however managed to climb as high as 6th overall at one stage, but finished in 19th overall and 10th in Pro class.
The Dragon racing Ferrari 458 GT3 car #888 fared well in qualifying giving the team an 11th place grid start position. Khaled and his team were up against some stiff competition this year from teams who had entered new spec GT3 cars.
“Im happy had the pace as I haven’t raced for just over a year, I had a little reservation but as soon as I got back in the GT3 again it felt like home. We moved into the Pro class due to the bronze driver rule changes in Am class meant both myself and John would have had to drive for 6 hours each minimum, so we opted for the Pro class with no time restrictions where we could run as fast as we could flat out, which is always my preference to be honest.”
At 5:30pm Khaled took his first turn driving during a code 60 session, racing during the twilight hours into darkness, swapping with John Hartshorne at 7:30pm.
“We had a record number of cars this year which in my opinion was too many, the speed difference between the classes was huge, and with a record number of code 60s due to accidents, Im happy we managed to finish as well as we did.”
The team started well and climbed as high as sixth overall, when during the early hours they suffered a shunt from another car and sustained damage to the rear left wheel, just as Khaled was due to take over his second stint in the car. Losing almost 30mins in the pit cost the team a few laps as they dropped down the running.
Only a few hours later with Rob Barff at the wheel, the car was hit hard again on the same side causing a broken driveshaft, the crew worked tirelessly to repair the damage to re-join the race, but now they were out of contention for the top ten finish they had hoped for.
By the time the chequered flag was waved at 2:00pm on Saturday 16th there were 68 cars who had made it through the gruelling 24h race.
“We made it to the finish line, the car was battered but the crew managed to fix all the damage in record time and we managed to maintain the pace up till the finish. A lot of the top cars were hit in the early part of the race and to get this result is amazing, we can’t always be on the podium, we have to accept the hard knocks and deal with them as a team,” said Khaled
“Im hoping to continue this year in European race events, both GT and European Le Mans, Im hoping to announce my plans soon,” concluded Khaled.