Dubai: Dec 11th 2010: Celebrating her twenty fourth birthday on the same day as the race, Fabienne Lanz unfortunately had little time to enjoy her birthday celebration cake on this, her third visit to compete at Dubai Kartdrome. With one thousand one hundred and fifty laps lying ahead of the team, it was going to be a long night with brand new experiences for all the drivers of this final third Championship round of the Sodi World 24hrs endurance series.
The new 17 corner track layout was re-designed to run in an anticlockwise position for 1.204km. Most of the drivers and teams in the 20 strong entry list had never raced on the new track configuration before and with additional new rules to contend with there were many challenges ahead, including the thrilling Le Mans style start, where drivers had to sprint across the track into their already running karts and start racing.

Fabienne also entered the warm up race of the Sodi RX250 Sprint Cup in preparation for the 24hrs and came home in an admirable third in both sprint races, whilst saving her energy for the main endurance event.

In previous 24 hrs races, Fabienne has secured two fastest laps, two Pole positions and an Autodrome achievement award in 2009. Fabienne Lanz, now third time lucky, has been awarded a podium finish and helped the Seychelles Racing team bring the kart home in a well deserved third position overall.

Andy Soucek, F1 test driver and 2009 F2 World Champion, started the Seychelles team off with a faultless Le Mans style sprint, getting a great start in the P3 grid lineup, and he set hearts racing as he diced back and forth with Alban Varutti for the first hour stint. Next up in the hot seat for Seychelles Racing was 19 year old South African kart ace, Philip Viljoen who was elated at his unexpected invitation due to Vic Preston dropping out for a family emergency. Philip, a rookie to 24hrs racing is now hyped on this adrenaline rush and hopes to come back next year to compete again in Dubai.

Fabienne took the seat in the third hour and set about picking her way through the field to a clear track where she put in some spectacular fast lap times with a best lap time of 1:11.468, things were looking promising for the team, now seated in second place overall for most of the race.

Late in the evening the team received a penalty drive through whilst Fabienne was at the wheel, for an infringement at the beginning of the race for breaking the new rule of allocated pit time, whilst many other teams also received this same penalty, it was not till the last remaining hours that this penalty was to cost the Seychelles team dearly in overall lap positions.

As the team soldiered on through the night, temperatures dropped and most drivers took the chance to grab some much needed sleep, with makeshift beds, rugs and tents pitched up alongside the pit garages, the entire Dubai Kartdrome Officials and Marshalls team had no such luxury as they closely monitored the race event.

With eight stints driving for the team under her belt, Fabienne relaxed a little by the following morning to enjoy the company of several local UAE ladies. All were very interested to chat to her, none more excited that young Emirati racer Maitha Al Ahli, a sixteen year old female Karter, who has only just gained her CIK licence. The two girls joked and shared stories in Fabienne’s hospitality tent, Maitha is now motivated to join Fabienne’s team in next year’s attempt at the podium.

During the final two minutes of the 24hr race, the tension was unbearable as Andy Soucek gained on the teams nearest rival. The Seychelles team were still two laps down on the Ocean Rubber team, who were running in second place, but Andy eventually reeled in Mohammed Al Mutawa to gain a lap, with now just one lap difference, they were still five laps adrift of winners Batelco Team.

Finishing in a commendable third place overall the Seychelles team were jubilant to shower Andy Soucek in water as he shot across the finish line. The Seychelles Racing team have now completed six 24hr races at Dubai Kartdrome and this is their highest ranking since securing a seventh place in 2007.

The Seychelles Racing team, was supported by Cyril Johnson, Deon van der Merwe, Philip Viljon Snr, Peter Lanz and Lex Akehurst as pit support crew and sponsored by partners, Eden Island Marina, Hunt, Deltel & Co Ltd, DHL and Seychelles Tourist Board.

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