x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

American driver delighted with his triumphant debut in Dubai

Tommy Milner, with bags under his eyes and bigger bags in his hands, headed immediately for the airport after a successful debut at the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai.

DUBAI // Tommy Milner, with bags under his eyes and bigger bags in his hands, headed immediately for the airport after a successful debut at the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai, yesterday.

The American was one quarter of the Need for Speed Schubert team, a BMW contingent also consisting of a Brazilian, a Swede and a German, who competed in the emirate's highest profile endurance race.

The team's multi-national make-up was not an anomaly in an expansive field of 85 cars that featured 30 international drivers, from as far afield as Canada and New Zealand, but their on-track consistency, and their BMW Z4 GT3's reliability, stood them apart.

"It's my first time in Dubai, but it's not my first 24-hour race," said Milner, who raced in two-hour shifts alongside teammates Augusto Farfus, Edward Sandstrom and Claudia Hurtgen.

"That said, this is certainly the most enjoyable 24-hour race that I have done. It's a race I will never forget.

"It went perfect really; we had no dramas and I guess it was just our day. The team, the drivers, everyone did a perfect job."

Which is just as well, for Milner and his teammates did not have the quickest car. Their fastest lap of 2mins 4.858secs was eclipsed by 11 other teams, including Land Motorsport 2 who were more than 1.5secs faster yet finished 55th.

However, Need for Speed Team persevered to finish three laps and more than eight minutes ahead of their nearest rival, AF Corse SRL 1, who were competing in a Ferrari F430 GT2.

"In a little way, I guess it is not nice, because in motorsport the quickest car should win," Milner said. "But with all the different rules - qualifying and weight distribution and so on - it balances out and at the end of the day, that's motorsport."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae