Nicholas Mee Racing : Podium in Dubai

Friday, January 22, 2010

Nicholas Mee Racing
Nicholas Mee Racing’s no. 124 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 finished the 2010 Dunlop 24-hours of Dubai 3rd in class and a creditable 18th overall out of 74 participating cars.

Competing in the team’s debut 24hr race, the no.124 NMR Vantage GT4 was driven by team regular Karsten le Blanc (NL) with guest drivers Shaun Lynn (GB) and last-minute recruit Wolfgang Kaufmann (DE).

Brothers Tarek and Galal Mahmoud (LB), accompanied by Greg Audi (LB) and Corentine Quiniou (FR), piloted the no.125 ‘Cedar Racing’ NMR Aston Martin GT4.

During practice and qualifying both NMR cars suffered substantial collisions from behind, but Kaufmann nonetheless managed to steer car 124 to 29th overall and 1st of the eleven homologated GT4 cars in the SP3-GT4A class. Unable to find a traffic-free lap, Greg Audi qualified car 125 9th in class and 45th on the grid.

2pm on Friday 15th January saw the start of the race with le Blanc at the wheel of the no.124 V8 Vantage and Tarek Mahmoud driving car 125. Mahmoud made a strong start and quickly gained several places from his grid position. Due to on-track incidents during the early laps, Le Blanc had started cautiously and at the end of the first hour, he’d held on to 8th in class (40th overall), crucially the car was still in one piece.

As the race progressed some skilled driving and typically slick NMR race management and pit-work, would see both cars make good headway. NMR’s seasoned Team Manager Craig Dawson oversaw both cars, assisted by Chief Technicians Andrew Weller (car 124) and Ben Bloomfield (car 125).

By 8pm the no.124 NMR Aston Martin was up to 28th overall and by half distance (2am) a further five positions had been gained.

Unfortunately the no.125 Vantage was having a more difficult time. Friday evening saw it make two lengthy pitstops, both caused by a problematic drive belt tensioner, with a few unscheduled hours spent in the pits, the Cedar Racing squad dropped to 66th overall. However, accompanied by spectator applause, car 125 finally rejoined the race and both NMR Astons continued to circulate the 3.35-mile Dubai Autodrome consistently.

By the time the chequered flag fell at 2pm on the Saturday, the Le Blanc/Lynn/Kaufmann Vantage GT4 had completed 550 laps (1,843 miles) to finish 3rd in class and 18th overall, just two laps behind the local, class-winning AUH Aston Martin team.

Against the odds and with 403 laps completed (1,350 miles) the Mahmoud/Mahmoud/Audi/Quiniou NMR/Cedar Racing GT4 made it to the chequered flag, a gallant 8th in class and 49th overall.

Both cars will arrive back in the UK in February and will then be rebuilt for a busy and exciting 2010 season a little closer to home.

The team would like to thank regular driver Christiaen Van Lanschot and guest driver David Clark, who were both unable to make the start, for their support during the race.

Nicholas Mee Racing would like to congratulate the AUH Motorsports Vantage GT4 team on its fine SP3-GT4A class victory. (Full Dubai 24hr results can be found at


Karsten le Blanc, driver 1, NMR car 124
“This was my first 24 hour race and I loved it. Our Aston didn't miss a single beat throughout the race. Special mention must go to the superb Nicholas Mee team that worked so hard before and during the race. My car ran like a dream! Fantastic stuff!”

Shaun Lynn, driver 2, NMR car 124
“This was the first time I have driven a modern race car and I am sure it won’t be the last. I really, really enjoyed the experience and the team was absolutely superb. 
This race will stay with me for a long time. Thank you.”

Wolfgang Kaufmann, driver 3, NMR car 124
“You have a fantastic group of people and it was a great pleasure racing and fighting for all of you. Everyone did a great job!! Very good preparation, great team work, good pit stops and a great race engineer and team manager. Sorry that I always brought your car back with everything empty – no fuel, no tyres, no brakes – but thank you very much for all of it!”

Tarek Mahmoud, driver 1, NMR car 125
The event, and the performance of the team and car, went beyond any of our dreams. Even though we were plagued by a recurring mechanical problem, the perseverance and exemplary dedication of the team allowed us to get back on track and finish the race in a better position than we’d started. More importantly, we shared a memorable and unparalleled experience with the team and sponsors.”

Nicholas Mee, NMR Team Principal
“The entire team’s achievement cannot be underestimated. Against a field of some 74 cars, including eight other Aston Martin GT4s driven by world-class professional drivers, the competition was tough. To have achieved a podium finish in our first ever 24-hour race is beyond my dreams and a wonderful tribute to the team’s effort. NMR really excelled during an immensely difficult three days of over-delivering and under-sleeping. It’s difficult to imagine a finer start to our 2010 season.”

Aston Martin Racing
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