Multiple UAE Motor Racing Champions, Al Azhari and Kronfli in action at 24h Dubai

Multiple UAE Motor Racing Champions, Al Azhari and Kronfli in action at 24h Dubai

12.01.2016: Al Azhari and Kronfli bring a huge chunk of experience to respective high caliber teams

Al Azhari and Kronfli bring a huge chunk of experience to respective high caliber teams

photo caption:    Eight times UAE champion Al Azhari suits up to be part of the GDL Racing Porsche 991 Cup team.

Karim Al Azhari and Bassam Kronfli, two stalwarts of the UAE motor racing scene, have secured drives in the 11th edition of the Hankook 24H Dubai, which takes place at the Dubai Autodrome this weekend (14, 15 and 16 January 2016) and is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of UAE National Olympic Committee.

Eight times UAE champion Al Azhari is a familiar figure at the Autodrome, having made his racing debut at the venue in 2005 during the formative years of the Middle East Radical Cup.

Since then he has competed in UAE Touring Cars, UAE GT and Sportscar Championships, the NGK Racing Series, Middle East Radical Cup, Toyota TRD Cup and Porsche Middle East Cup, while partaking in several Dubai 24 hours endurance races over the years.

A week ago Al Azhari was not even on the entry list but after a flurry of calls a deal was struck and he will suit up to be part of the GDL Racing Porsche 991 Cup team.

Al Azhari said, “This is the best race we have here on our home track. I have been on the podium a few times in the 24 hours and I am hoping to repeat it this year with GDL. They are an Italian team with experience in the races here in Dubai. The goal is to win the SP2 Class in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. It's a tough and challenging race so let's wait and see what happens.”

Kronfli, also a Dubai resident with a long history of racing at the Autodrome, boasts an impressive racing CV having twice won the Middle East Radical Cup along with the 2009 Radical European Masters. He also competed regularly in the UAE GT Championship and has had a number of outings at the Dubai 24 hours and in 2009 he stood on the top of the podium after winning the SP2 Class in that year's edition of the Dubai 24 hours.

 For his home race this year he will be in action at the wheel of a Nissan GT-R GT3 in the colours of MRS Racing, an outfit he knows well as he drove for them in the 2015 Hankook 24H Dubai. The combination has proved to be effective and they are targeting a podium finish this year.

Kronfli explained, “The Nissan GT-R won this year’s Blancpain endurance championship and has proven to be a great endurance car. After testing at Yas Marina at the end of last year I was convinced that the combination of team and car would put me in a strong position for a great result.

“I will be sharing the car with Nismo factory driver Tomonobu Fujii, Nissan Playstation academy winner Ahmed Bin Khanen and experienced Russian GT driver Ilya Melnikov. All of us have stepped on the podium in various classes at the Dubai 24hrs before so expectations are high and we aim to put the GT-R on the podium.

“We know that won’t be easy though as there are 30 GT3 cars in the race from a total of over 100 entries, and this year’s line-up looks like the toughest one yet. The large number of cars also means that a chaotic race is pretty much guaranteed, but hopefully we’ll come out the other end in one piece with some silverware to show for it,” concluded Kronfli.

The pair of UAE champions will be burning rubber during the course of the Hankook 24H Dubai with thirty-two other drivers who are also familiar faces on the UAE racing scene.

The 2016 Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai takes place on 14 to 16 January 2016 at Dubai Autodrome, with qualifying practice on Thursday ahead of the start at 14:00pm on Friday.

Entry with access to grandstands and the paddock area is free for spectators, with family friendly activities scheduled throughout the weekend.  Hankook 24H Dubai Race Weekend Schedule:

photo caption:    Dubai 24H veteran Bassam Kronfli prepares to take on the challenge again.

Thursday 14 January 2016

11:30 – 12:00 Hankook 24H Dubai Free practice 1, Class A2, A3, CUP1, TCR, SP3
12:05 – 12:35 Hankook 24H Dubai Free practice 2, Class A6, SPX, SP2, 991, 997
12:35 – 13:30 Break
13:30 – 16:00 Hankook 24H Dubai Free practice 3 ALL Classes
16:15 – 16:45 Hankook 24H Dubai Qualification 1: Class A2, A3, CUP1, TCR, SP3
17:00 – 17:30 Hankook 24H Dubai Qualification 2: Class A6, SPX, SP2, 991, 997
17:30 – 18:00 Break
18:00 – 20:00 Hankook 24H Dubai Night practice

Friday 15 January 2016

10:30 – 11:00 Hankook 24H Dubai Warming up
11:45 – 12:45 Break
12.45 Start grid of the Hankook 24H Dubai
14:00 Start of the Hankook 24H Dubai
20.00 Fireworks

Saturday 16 January 2016

14:00 Finish of the Hankook 24H Dubai
14:15 Publication of results
14.15 Podium ceremony (All Class Winners)

- Tony Lewis, Total Communications DUbai - also photos


12.01.2016 / MaP

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