Sometimes fairytales don’t come true.
Somehow though Abdulaziz Turki AlFaisal is still smiling, which considering the events of his 2012 Le Mans 24hrs ‘adventure’ is pretty impressive. The man himself – during the previous few times crankandpiston has spoken with him during the week – stated he was well prepared and fired up for a good result. And this enthusiasm had not waned as showtime neared. Prospeed Competition was ready, and all they needed was a clean run during the first six hours. Though as the man himself explained:
“You can never guarantee a win in racing, especially in a 24hrs race. You try your best to prepare, but things happen. Le Mans is one of the toughest endurance races in the world, because it’s hectic and the track is very demanding. It’s all very heavy on driver and machine.”
Fate seemed to play an overly fiendish hand early on in the proceedings. First up for the Prospeed outfit was Porsche Supercup winner Sean Edwards, who’d planted the #75 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR second fastest in the GT Pro-Am category a few days earlier. Despite a good start and avoiding the mid-field tussle, the #75 Porsche suffered not one but two punctures in the early going. Abdulaziz didn’t fare well either, a wheel-bearing issue crippling the RSR during his opening stint.
“Yeah, that really wasn’t the start that we would have wished for. We lost about eight laps at the beginning with technical problems. With a 24hr race you have to expect these things to happen. Just not right at the beginning!”
Two stints gone, and already nearly a dozen laps behind. But there was a rare sheen of light emitting from what was fast becoming a dark weekend for the Prospeed Competition. After a ridiculously unlucky start, Abdulaziz and playmates were starting to claw their way back into competition. They’d been given the all clear to push, and they certainly had the machine to get the job done.
“We kept pushing to try and catch up. Some of our competitors went out, so that helped with our position, and we slowly started moving back up the rankings. And when we saw we had a chance to get back in it, the team decided to take a chance and told me to push and fight for position.
“There’s a special way of driving the Porsche because the engine and weight is at the back, but with the RSR it’s just so well balanced. We set second fastest time in qualifying, and the fastest time was another Porsche! So it shows that it’s a fast car to drive at Le Mans. But also any car you drive on the limit – whether it’s a Porsche, Ferrari or anything – any small mistake and you can lose it.”