I was sorry to see that Khalid al Qubaisi and his teammates in the ToLimit Arabia Porsche 911 GT3 R didn't quite make the podium at Saturday's spectacular conclusion to the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai 'Bittersweet' as Emirati's team fourth in 24 hours of Dubai, (January 16).
As a fellow UAE GT Championship driver, I was looking forward to seeing one of our own take the overall win in an event filled with world class drivers, but a broken drive shaft meant luck was not on their side.
All was not despair for UAE based drivers and teams, though. I was privileged to be driving for A2B Racing, an Al Quoz based outfit driving in the lowest diesel category, running the least powerful car in its class against teams with budgets many multiples of our own.
With the experience of local veterans on our "home" track, perseverance and a lot of support from the crowd, we pulled off one of the upsets of the day by climbing over 30 places in the order and taking second place in class. Another Dubai-based team, Motorsport Wheels, achieved similar underdog success in their category.
As your own Barry Hope points out in his weekly Motoring column, things are looking up for UAE motorsport. Good luck to Khalid in the next round of the Porsche GT3 Middle East Challenge: we wish him much success.
Harris Irfan, Dubai
Military patrol needed for piracy
I cannot understand why this problem of piracy is allowed to exist, and worse, allowed to continue, as detailed in your story, Pirates seize ship en route from UAE (January 16). The solution seems so simple: Let all countries that have ships using the area contribute a small number of highly trained soldiers.
Give them a small base in a friendly country at the northern end of the area and another one at the southern end. Assign a small team of just a few, very heavily armed soldiers to every vessel when it approaches the danger zone and leave them on board until it exits the danger zone. There they can board another vessel going in the opposite direction. In other words, they travel back and forth.
They must also be given the use of arms to defend themselves against these pirate boats. Survivors should be picked up for immediate prosecution. This will solve the problem overnight. The costs could be shared by the participating countries. It will also be substantially cheaper than deploying all those navy vessels, which - incomprehensibly - are not permitted to take action anyway.
It is ludicrous that perhaps four or five pirates on a tiny boat can hijack, and continue to hijack year after year, huge ocean-going vessels and put their crews' lives in jeopardy. There are also other dangers, depending on the type of cargo carried by the hijacked vessels. It is also important for the ports in the area and their respective governments to do more.
John Peergin, Dubai
Roots of regional radicalism
The exchange with an Al Jazeera correspondent as reported in the article Clinton urges Arab leaders to change approach (January 14) must have had the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in a tizzy.
When probed on double-speak over Israel, Clinton spoke of Israel's sovereignty. But in defence of a natural ally, the US forgets the tenets of natural justice.
Like Israel, Iran too is a sovereign state and therefore both should qualify for equitable treatment from US foreign policy. Without comparing regimes however, equal treatment should extend to frustrations expressed over state corruption throughout the region.
Mrs Clinton spoke of corruption that breeds extremism. But if corruption breeds violent radicalism then only one introspective step backwards illustrates the vested interest upon which a biased US policy in the region is framed.
That approach was seen at full tilt in the Indian sub-continent where it is frustrating to watch US foreign policy as it engaged in business deals with India.
What of corruption there? Huge sums of money from the national exchequers get diverted from developmental programmes into wasteful military hardware - in a nuclear nation - only to allay fears of an imbalanced US foreign policy. Has not the US earmarked the area as the eye of violent radicalism? What of US power in that region? A logical conclusion is that it is US policy that needs to change its approach, rather than the region under Arab leaders if violent radicalism is to be stemmed.
RKS, Abu Dhabi
Malaysia more than sum of parts
I refer to the article, Many cultures fall short of making up one Malaysia (January 7).
It says that"Many cultures fall short of making up one Malaysia - Malays, Chinese, Indians". But are there only three races in Malaysia?
So what of the rest of us? Do we not exist?
Uzair Sawal, Malaysia