As part of her 2012 International karting campaign Fabienne started her motorsport journey in Dubai on Apr 20th when she made a cameo appearance in the final round of the DAMC Senior max category at Dubai Kartdrome. Fabienne scooped up top honours, as she powered to victory in the Senior Max category. Fabienne was untouchable on the day as she qualified in pole position and then proceeded to win the heat race, the pre-final before romping home to win the final.
Fabienne then jetted of as a guest of Bahrain’s Batelco Team to be a VIP for the day at the GulfAir Formula 1 GP in Bahrain, a first for Fabienne at an F1 Grand Prix.
The following week the Batelco team flew to France for the 24hr Kart Endurance Race at RKC Track in Cergy Pontois, France on Apr 26th.
The forecast for the entire 24hrs was torrential rain but the karters were offered one dry hour right at the end of the race.
During the Friday before the race day the Batelco team (Alban Varutti ; Mohammed Mattar; Ramez Azzam; Paul Chatinay) took time to absorb some of the scenery around Paris, visiting the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame not forgetting the famous Arc de Triomphe and its amazing crazy roundabout.
The team also met up with Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Jean–Eric Vergne, who is from Cergy Pontois, visited the karters to start the race.
Fabienne took her driving stint at 9am on Saturday morning, just when the heavens opened up like a monsoon causing quite a few hair raising off track moments.
Ramez Azzam drove the last stint, when only 45 minutes from the end, drama hit as the Batelco teams kart broke down in the last corner of the track, and so a replacement kart was used. When all seamed lost for the win, the leading CER team also suffered a kart failure, this brought out the safety car giving Batelco team sufficient time to make up ground to take the lead and finally win the race.
Buoyed by their win in France the Batelco team jetted off direct to USA the following weekend of May 5th to campaign the 24hrs of America in North Carolina, Charlotte Speedway, the home of Nascar.
During the practice day the team had the chance to drive a genuine Nascar, Fabienne jumped at the chance to test the car.
“What an experience driving around the famous embanked corners and hearing the engine roar was music to my ears, I had goose bumps throughout the whole experience,” enthused Fabienne.
The weather was quiet a contrast from France, a hot and humid day for the 10:30am start as Alban Varutti qualified the Batelco team in 2nd position for Le Mans start. Fabienne did the second and managed to improve pace on each lap, although sliding around in a very large seat.
Fabienne completed 8 stints in total and did her fastest time in the last stint, which was also the fastest lap of the race, at 54:5. The team were only 3 laps down from the winner and 26 seconds behind 2nd place, finishing third overall.
With no time for rest the team quickly flew back to Dubai for the second round of the 12hrs endurance at the Dubai Kartdrome on May 11th.
Alban Varutti secured pole position for race start at 9pm on a cooler Friday evening. The racing format had been modified to avoid the heat of the midday so drivers had a 9pm till 9am race schedule.
By half way mark the Batelco team were up to 3rd position and soon after worked their way into 2nd position. Local team, Dubai Falcons were leading in first place with a 12 seconds gap when Batelco team mate Varutti took the wheel, he managed to close the gap to just 5.687 seconds during the last hour making it the closest team finish, but Fabienne and the Batelco team had to settle for second place after an intense battle. Batelco currently leads the championship on 95 points, the next round of endurance races will be in October.
“It was a very good race, very consistent and amazing work again by all in the team, from the crew, to the drivers, everyone did an awesome job. I am enjoying myself in this team, we have some real talented drivers and the team work is top notch,” added Fabienne.
Fabienne now travels back to her home in South Africa to take part in the local championships.