Audi R8 LMS Cup at Yas Marina Circuit this weekend will decide Audi series winner

Emirati drivers Khaled Al Qubaisi and Saeed Al Mehairi will compete in the Audi R8 LMS Cup this weekend when the championship race series makes its debut at the Yas Marina Circuit, reports Amith Passela.
Emirati drivers Khaled Al Qubaisi, left, and Saeed Al Mehairi will feel right at home this weekend. Courtesy photo
Emirati drivers Khaled Al Qubaisi, left, and Saeed Al Mehairi will feel right at home this weekend. Courtesy photo

Abu Dhabi // Emirati drivers Khaled Al Qubaisi and Saeed Al Mehairi will compete in the Audi R8 LMS Cup this weekend when the championship race series makes its debut at the Yas Marina Circuit.

The Abu Dhabi races are the final leg of the Audi series following action in South Korea, Malaysia, China and Japan.

Free practice takes place on Thursday at 4.45pm, with qualifying at 11.45am on Friday and Race 1 to follow at 6.30pm. Race 2 is Saturday at 4.45pm.

It is a one-off entry for both Al Qubaisi – who is also competing in the Gulf 12 Hours this weekend – and Al Mehairi, but the championship title is still wide open as any of the top four drivers have a chance to claim the crown.

Alex Yoong, the former Formula 1 driver from Malaysia, tops the standings going into the final leg with 156 points, followed by Macau’s Andre Couto (149), Rahel Frey of Switzerland (121) and China’s Chang Cong Fu (112).

There are 51 points up for grabs, 25 for each of the two races and one for pole position.

Each race is 15 laps and each team comprises of two drivers.

Al Qubaisi and Al Mehairi both said they will use their knowledge of the track to their advantage.

“If we have any disadvantages, it may be only that we have not driven the car,” said Al Qubaisi, the first Emirati to drive at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and winner of the Gulf 12 Hours and the 24 Hours of Dubai last year.

“Perhaps, all we may need to adapt quickly is a good half-hour behind the wheels. Home advantage is a huge plus and I feel that evens out. Yes, our competitors have been racing the whole season, but I still feel knowing the track will help.

“Once you are the race driver, all you need is half-hour to get used to the car. For my side, I feel it will be OK.”

Al Mehairi, who scored his first win in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East last weekend, said: “Khaled and I are racing together, so I know how good a driver he is and I’m sure that we can form a successful team for the Abu Dhabi race.

“Like all racing drivers, we both want to win races, but the priority is to support each other, put the team first and try to deliver a great race for all our fans out there.”

The duo share an Abu Dhabi Racing Audi R8 LMS adorned with the number 43, in honour of National Day.

apassela@thenational.ae

Follow our sports coverage on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: December 10, 2014 04:00 AM

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