Grand Prix Diary 2011 Part 18: GP Abu Dhabi

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Grand Prix diary 2011 part 18: GP Abu Dhabi
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B in the penultimate race in Abu In Dhabi, we actually wanted to end the season slowly. The titles had long been taken. Tension didn't want to arise anymore. In the end, it turned out to be a Grand Prix weekend that we shouldn't forget anytime soon. A careless taxi driver from Bangladesh, who hit us in the rear at a red traffic light, made lasting impressions for the auto motor und sport crew.

Abu Dhabi was not a good star from the start. In previous years, the organizer had always reserved a few cheap rooms for journalists in the hotels right next to the track. In 2011 only the normal tourist tariff was used. More than 500 euros per night is not only too much for a Swabian publisher. We waited a long time to see if there was still a good offer, a week before leaving we finally gave up and booked ourselves in downtown Abu Dhabi.

Corolla already at the handover scrap

Instead of a ten-minute walk, there was now a half-hour drive to the route on the Yas peninsula every day. So a rental car was needed. After landing in Dubai we got a carrot from a cheap rental car dump. In my opinion, the completely scrubbed off white notchback Corolla was only scrap value after 80,000 kilometers when it was handed over. Two days later there was no longer any doubt about it.

On the way back on the training Friday there was a fateful encounter. Colleague Michael Schmidt stopped at a red light shortly before the autobahn, three seconds later we were both in our seat belts. A taxi driver had completely overlooked both us and the stop signs at the traffic lights and wedged his front deep into our rear. Apart from a real shock, there was at least no permanent physical damage, which you couldn't say about the cars.

Even on the short walk towards the roadside, unhealthy grinding noises could be heard. A look at the back confirmed the suspicion. The bumper was just scrap, the body underneath pushed in so far that the inner lining of the fender made close contact with the tire. The tailgate could no longer be closed, which also applied to the rear right door. The taillights had pushed it half a centimeter out of the trunk lid and theExhaust suddenly sounded more like Carrera than Corolla.

Crash pilot lets the passenger pay too

The outside of the taxi only had a small damage to the bumper and the grill area. A slight development of smoke and a small puddle under the engine did not bode well. For the driver, however, the passenger was more important than the damage to his vehicle. Instead of apologizing for his mistake, the guest worker from Bangladesh also took the cost of the canceled tour from the slightly shocked lady. After she had paid in protest, she was thrown out on the street in the middle of the desert and had to find a new taxi.

For us it was now more important to get a police patrol quickly. In the event of an accident with a rental car, everything has to be officially regulated. Our problem was that the guest worker from Asia spoke neither Arabic nor English. At least not very well. At least he knew which number to dial on his cell phone. Michael Schmidt then took over the discussions with the police station. Since the scene of the accident was unfortunately difficult to find behind a winding underpass, waiting for the police should be a game of patience.

Back to the route by taxi

After one three quarters of an hour it was too stupid for us. We decided that I would go back to the track to personally pick up the police. A music concert had ended there shortly before. Numerous security forces took care of the crowds of cars and people on the streets. To get a taxi in the direction of the route I had to walk half a kilometer first. After ten minutes of driving I was in complete traffic chaos.

Immediately I drove to a police officer and described our problem to him. He wanted to get rid of me first and said that he was not responsible for traffic offenses. After ten minutes of begging and pleading, he called a colleague and we drove to the scene of the accident in the police car. There colleague Schmidt and the surprisingly calm taxi driver were still waiting for help. Unfortunately, the two policemen were really from the wrong department. But at least they helped to order a patrol from the right department.

Accident log on the receipt

To make it short: another hour later we finally got there second car. A lone officer got out, took five photos, and put his laptop on the boot lid. Using the touchscreen, he entered all the data about the cars, the drivers and the location of the accident and then sent the information to a small printer on the back seat. Unfortunately, only the name 'Michael Schmidt' could be read on the log, the size of a receipt. The rest was Arabic. After arriving at the hotel, we had the receptionist confirm that our innocence had also been recorded.

At first we didn't even believe that we would make it back to the hotel. But with combined forces and brute force, first the interior trim was torn out of the wheel arch and then the rear bumper was removed. Before leaving, we had to fold the bulky rear protection twice until it fit on the back seat. We used the trample and jump technique to deform the disruptive plastic part. The tailgate was quickly tied with the dangling cables of the distance sensors, and then we were ready to drive again.

On Saturday we went to the route by taxi. The rental company had bought us a replacement car from Dubai for race Sunday. The entire claim settlement was unexpectedly unbureaucratic.

Hamilton wins, Vettel runs out of air

As expected, there was not much interesting sporting on offer. Sebastian Vettel sets Nigel Mansell's season record with the 14th pole position. In the race, however, a burst tire resulted in the end after just three corners. In an uneventful Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton ended up at the top of the podium. But after a messed up season, the Englishman didn't want to be in a good mood. On the political stage, the teams were at least able to agree on a common line in terms of exhaust rules. The cost savings plan was postponed to Sao Paulo.

The most important story for me, like every year, was the look at the sheikhs' favorite cars. Armed with the digicam, I walked through parking lots and lurked by the roadside for expensive treasures. As in previous years, the best loot was in front of the luxury hotels and on the parking spaces directly on the route. Although I didn't get a Veyron or an Enzo this year, there were more than 20 Ferraris in one place. I won't forget this sight anytime soon.

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