x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Fast laps and thick gravel mark the end of debut season for al Qubaisi

Team Abu Dhabi's Porsche Supercup campaign ended with mixed results yesterday.

Team Abu Dhabi's Porsche Supercup campaign ended with mixed results yesterday. Sean Edwards, the No 1 driver, clinched a second-place finish, but the UAE's Khaled al Qubaisi suffered a premature exit after his fastest drive of the year. Having qualified 27th from the 32-strong Supercup field, al Qubaisi's promising debut season ended in spectacular fashion when he slid wide at the Curva Parabolica.The Emirati, who tested at Monza earlier this year, carried too much pace into the long right-hander which leads to the home straight and found himself marooned in the thick gravel.

"This is my best and worst recent result," al Qubaisi said. "I can see myself improving and next season will be a different proposition. "Earlier this year I thought the guys in front of me were invincible, but now I know I can beat them. I will no longer just be flying the UAE flag and gaining experience, I'll be a mid-field runner next season." Al Qubaisi's Parabolica exit marred what had been his strongest Supercup performance to date. Having begun the season an average of 3.5secs slower per lap than the frontrunners of the series, he conceded he had surprised himself by clocking laps only 0.5secs slower than the pacesetters. "I recorded the 12th-fastest lap of the whole race," said al Qubaisi. "At first I thought there had been a mistake, but I actually clocked two almost identical laps. It's amazing, mind-boggling even, to have come this far in my first season."

Al Qubaisi, who drives the third Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority-funded Supercup entry, is trying to raise local funding to compete in the regional 2011 Supercup series, but confirmed he will return to the European championship. "Definitely," he said. "With a little bit more testing I'm sure I can be up there next year." Having qualified 16th, Sascha Maassen, Team Abu Dhabi's second driver, finished 12th, while Nick Tandy's victory was not enough to prevent Germany's Rene Rast from wrapping up the title.

* Compiled by Euan Megson