Taking a busman's holiday in Abu Dhabi

Taking a busman's holiday in Abu Dhabi

The modern Formula 1 calendar often leaves little room for other races, but a call to moonlight at the newly organised Gulf 12 Hours proved too hard to resist - and, as Tony Dodgins reports, the event didn't disappoint either

When the phone rang, I'd just gone to bed. It was an Italian voice. Andrea Ficarelli, who I've known for a long time from his PR roles at the Benetton and Toyota Formula 1 teams, was putting together The Gulf 12 Hours sportscar race at Yas Marina Circuit on January 19-20. Would I go and help him out with a bit of English-speaking reportage?

When you've just completed 18 foreign F1 trips (increasingly long-haul) and a 20-race season looms ever nearer, the idea of packing, planes and airports is not quite so appealing. But, on the other hand, 'er indoors had suffered me for two months solid. And there was the English winter. With a flight, hotel room and some sunshine in the offing, Abu Dhabi suddenly didn't seem like too bad a plan.

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