Kuwait, Jan 20th, 2013.
On Jan 11th the country of Kuwait was represented for the first time in the region’s largest circuit racing event, as national racing driver Khaled Al Mudhaf took part in the 24hr endurance race at Dubai Autodrome Circuit.
Khaled joined the local Dubai based Gulf Racing Middle East squad in the eighth edition of the Dubai 24hr with the Lamborghini Gallardo LP600.
The team was made up of drivers Fabien Giroix, Frederic Fatien and F1 star Stefan Johansson who unexpectedly took ill on the race weekend thus cutting the squad down to just three drivers.
Due to Stefan taking ill we had to take double stints where each driver has a scheduled time to drive in the car and usually drives for at least a one hour slot, but we were doubling up our time so we all drove in two hour rotas trying to grab some rest in between. explained Khaled.
The team was entered under #9, in the A6 Pro-Am class however they were moved up into Pro class after practice race pace was assessed.
“It was the greatest race I ever did and a real eye opener to drive at night with so much traffic, the closing speed of the Lamborghini was really fast compared to some other classes and this was a big challenge at night. I didn’t have much practice in the car as I went into night practice the first time I drove the car.” he continued.
The 24hr this year consisted of 85 car entry list with prestige marques and compact brands competing in various classes, all battling it out in day and night conditions.
Unfortunately the car suffered a gearbox failure nearing the end of Khaled’s first stint and had to be towed back to the pit garage for repairs, however one hour later the car was back out in the race.
During Khaled’s third and last two hour stint, in the early hours of the morning with little sleep, he managed his personal best lap time, underpinning his determination behind the wheel of the Gallardo.
“I am really happy with Khaled’s performance he made no mistakes and avoided all accidents he was a pleasure to drive with and we would welcome him back in the team,” commented team owner Fabien Giroix.
“I completed 3 two hour stints before we retired the car, unfortunately I also endured three of the code 60s which means we have to drive at 60kph through any accident zones, and that was a challenge in that car too.” said Khaled.
This year the attrition rate of the race was quiet high with 25 cars falling by the wayside due to mechanical failure or irreparable accident damage.
This unfortunately included the Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 car Khaled was piloting, after several mechanical issues the car was retired just two hours from the end of the race at 12pm on Saturday 12th.
I’m so proud to be the first Kuwaiti to enter this race, it’s really important for us as a country to have representation in such events, we are a passionate motorsports culture and I hope many others will follow in my footsteps. This event has given me an opportunity to progress internationally and this year I hope to realise those dreams. concluded Khaled.