Race for the Apex Jaguar XKR
A record crowd filled the Dubai Autodrome for the penultimate race in the FIA European GT3 Series on Friday 5th December. The Apex Jaguar of Chris Dymond and Stuart Hall qualified in 13th position, following some startling test times, recording the Supercharged V8 XKR running up to 4 seconds a lap faster than last year.
The Jaguar’s outstanding performance on the straight produced several spectacular overtaking manoeuvres, and at one point, the Dymond/Hall team were running in 6th position.
The second Apex Jaguar, driven by Phil Quaife and Robert Hissom, were taking the opportunity to test a number of changes to set-up, with a view to making their mark during the final race of the season, scheduled for the following day. Unfortunately their plans were thwarted by an unexpected and unseasonal downpour which meant that the final race of the FIA European GT3 Season was cancelled.
The heavy overnight rain overwhelmed the circuit and the surrounding road network, leaving several parts of the circuit up to 1m under water. The Apex team and drivers were informed of the decision early on Saturday morning, being permitted into the circuit only to retrieve equipment from the paddock and pit lane.
Dubai Autodrome Manager Richard Birch said: "This is some of the worst flooding I have encountered at the circuit."
The Federation International Automobile (FIA) Stewards of the meeting released the following statement: "Following a track inspection by the race directors of the FIA GT3 Championship, GP2 Asia and the Speedcar Series it is their collective view that the volume of water on the track, and the likelihood of there being any improvement during the day, would make it impossible to run any races safely. The Stewards of the Meeting therefore in accordance with Article 141 of the 2008 FIA International Sporting Code have accepted their advice and cancelled all races today."
While most residents of UAE have put the heavy downpour down to a freak occurrence, the Meteorological Department at the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) have confirmed that they were carrying out tests to induce artificial rain by using aircraft to sprinkle cloud seeding salts in moist clouds heading to Dubai earlier in the week. So it is feasible that the deluge was in fact, man made!
The two Apex Jaguar XKRs will return to the UK, where the team will focus on plans for the 2009 season, which starts at Silverstone on 2nd and 3rd May.