Dubai : It's true when they say a lot can happen in a day as Lap 57 Racing Team discovered during the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai endurance race at the Autodrome.
Proudly lining up on track as the only UAE team built in house, it was the worst possible start for the local lads who were ordered to start from the pit lane due to a qualifying infringement. Yet to their credit, they not only recovered from that early setback but also survived a series of gear-box problems and wheel damage among other hiccups to complete the gruelling race.
While their overall 55th out of 74 cars that lasted the duration may be a fair reflection of the troubles they encountered, the team did show their worth in the few good periods they enjoyed, setting the fastest lap time of 2min 23.452sec in the A2 class.
Ahead of the race, the four drivers led by HSBC Racing Academy graduate Saeed Al Muhairi, strongly fancied their chances of steering their modified Honda Civic towards a podium finish in their class. But they had no major complaints with the eventual outcome of seventh among the eight cars of the 1600cc to 1900cc category that reached the finish. "I'm very pleased, because we basically built this car from scratch in just five days," said team manager Mohammad Al Bannai.
"We had the worst kind of technical problems you could have in a race. Our gear box broke twice and at the end, we drove with virtually another broken gear box," he added in reference to the final two-hour stint negotiated by Mohammad Al Owais behind the wheel.
Fellow driver Omran Al Owais, Mohammad's elder brother, spared a few thoughts for the mechanics. "The driving part was easy in the sense that we just had to drive two hours and then slept.
"But the mechanics had a really tough time," said Omran.
The crucial behind the scenes role played by the technical staff certainly didn't go unrewarded as the team chose to give the mechanics a day and a half's rest much to their delight.