x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Hard work pays off for al Qubais in Dubai

Weeks of preparation will come to fruition today when Khaled al Qubaisi competes in the Dubai 24 Hours race with the rest of the Tolimit Arabia Porsche team.

Weeks of preparation will come to fruition today when Khaled al Qubaisi competes in the Dubai 24 Hours race with the rest of the Tolimit Arabia Porsche team.

The Emirati driver believes a tactical approach to qualifying will help his team in the race at Dubai Autodrome, and he is hoping to build on fifth place on the grid with a podium finish when the racing begins at 2pm this afternoon.

"We are pleased with how we did in qualifying," al Qubaisi said. "Our aim was not to try and set really quick times, but rather set a time that would see us high up, but not so high up that we would be given any [weight] penalties.

"We have achieved that and we are looking good. It is difficult to make any predictions as it is such a long race, but our aim is to try and fight for a podium placing."

This is al Qubaisi's first 24-hour race and he has prepared by working on his fitness. Also, he and the team competed in a six-hour endurance race in Italy.

He added: "Preparation began around two to three months ago and I have concentrated on making sure I am as fit as I can be so I cope with the demands of competing over a long period.

"I will have the opportunity to sleep, but only in one-hour blocks so it is important I have plenty of energy."

The rest of his team is made up of Sascha Maasen, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Sean Edwards, who will all drive during the 24 hours.

Pole position for the race was taken by the Blancpain Reiter Lamborghini team of Peter Kox, Marc Hayek, Nico Pronk and Bernhard Muller, with the UAE-based Gulf Team First Lamborghini, made up of Fabien Giroix, Frederic Fatien, Roald Goethe and Mike Wainwright, second on the grid

The race concludes tomorrow at 2pm, with 87 cars starting.

gcaygill@thenational.ae