86th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours – Round 2 of 2018/2019 WEC Super Season

Khaled Al Qubaisi starts first at the Le Mans 24 Hours

Al Qubaisi: “A great achievement for the team to start first in the most glorious race in the world”


Lemans (Fance) – Emirati racing driver Khalid Al Qubaisi and his Dempsey Proton Racing entry will start the famous Le Mans 24 Hours in pole position in the Pro-Am class following qualifying on Thursday.

Driving a Porsche 911 RSR, Al Qubaisi is part of the No.88 line-up with his teammates Matteo Cairoli and Giorgio Roda, and the team started the 2018 Le Mans race weekend by setting the best time in practice of 3:52.903s on the iconic 13.6km Circuit de la Sarthe.

That strong pace was confirmed again as his Dempsey Proton Racing car achieved the fastest time in the first qualifying session, as Porsche factory Mateo Cairoli lowered the bar with a 3:50.728s, improving the fastest time in class by more than two seconds

Their advantage at the time was 1.2 seconds to the nearest competitor in the Pro-Am category, the No.77 sister Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche after the first qualifying.

And in the second and third qualifying rounds, the No.88 continued to set a steady pace and most importantly maintained its lead in the overall ranking with the No.86 Gulf Racing UK moving up to second, although still with a difference of 0.663s between the two cars.

That ensured Al Qubaisi and his team will start the 24-hour race from first in class, while Porsche completed a clean sweep of the top three places as the No. 77 held on to third place.

Commenting on the performance of his Dempsey-Proton Racing car, Al Qubaisi said: “Thankfully, Abu Dhabi Racing has been able to reserve the first place in the world’s most glorious race.

“This is certainly a great achievement and a great effort from Porsche to provide us with a good car and great settings.

“The race is the most important and now we are fully focused on it, avoiding surprises and maintaining a good pace are very important if we want to turn this result into a good finish on Sunday.”

The 2018 Le Mans 24 hours will start on Saturday afternoon, June 16 at 15:00 local time (17:00 UAE time) with the clock ticking down for an entire day before the checkered flag is waved the following day (Sunday) at the same time.

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