Lamborghini and Ferrari under the spotlight; Hirvonen to push it

It will be an face-off between two Italian rival marques when Fabien Giroix and teammate Frederic Fatien line-up their Lamborghini LP560 against the Ferrari of Rob Barff and Leon Price in the the UAE GT Championship at Dubai Autodrome. In the Rally Spain, Ford Abu Dhabi driver Mikko Hirvonen plans to go hard and fast at his Citroen rivals.

A duel between Ferrari and Lamborghini will take centre stage in the second round of the UAE National Race Day series at the Dubai Autodrome Friday.

The opening UAE GT Championship race takes place at the Autodrome with the action at the front expected to be between the pairings of Fabien Giroix and Frederic Fatien and Rob Barff and Leon Price.

Giroix and Fatien will be in a Gulf racing Lamborghini LP560, while Barff and Price are competing in an AUH Motorsports-run Ferrari.

Giroix is confident the Lamborghini will be on the pace, saying: "It is the 2011 spec car that we are racing which has been very fast everywhere. At Magny Cours [in France] earlier this year we led the first hour against many top Ferrari teams. We have a very strong car."

Barff is equally bullish on his package's potential.

"We have a very good race car," he said. "Leon Price, the car owner, and I have raced it abroad, winning the UK GT Trophy Championship where we won every round. It's a proven factory Ferrari which has proven pace."

Friday's race, which begins at 2.40pm, will last for 60 minutes and will include a mandatory pit-stop.

Driver changes at the stop are optional.

Also in action in Dubai are the UAE Touring Car Championship and the UAE Sportsbike Championship, both of which will be contesting two races.

The first action on the track is at 10.10am and entrance to the Autodrome is free.

HIRVONEN READY TO ECLIPSE LOEB

Mikko Hirvonen plans to push his Ford Fiesta to the limit Friday at Rally Spain as he seeks to win his first World Rally Championship.

The Abu Dhabi Ford goes into the penultimate event of the series level at the top of the title standings with Sebastien Loeb, the seven-time champion, on 196 points.

Loeb’s Citroen teammate, Sebastien Ogier, is three points behind the pair. The Rally Spain, which runs until Sunday, is run on tarmac and is expected to suit the Citroens, but that does not concern Hirvonen.

“I feel pretty confident and relaxed about the whole situation,” he said. “There’s nothing to lose now. We have to drive flat-out and if we were to win in Spain, it would make things look very good going to the final round in Britain. We don’t have any testing before Spain, but I still feel good about it.”

Friday’s opening leg of the event is made up of six stages starting with Pesells, a fast and twisty stage over a compact surface.

Published: October 21, 2011 04:00 AM

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