Saeed Al Mehairi and Ramez Azzam starred in the second round of the 2013 SWS Ramadan Challenge on a hot Monday night at Dubai Kartdrome, the pair scoring a win apiece and featuring prominently all night.
Dubai Autodrome Kartdrome Round 2 Ramadan Challenge
Azzam signalled his intent early as he scorched to pole position in qualifying with the likes of Al Mehairi, Ali Al Mansoori, Atef Al Barwani, Mohammed Al Mutawaa, Sam Zian, Mohammed Al Ghurair, Ali Al Najjar, Abdul Basit and Aanas Al Halani chasing hard. The top ten separated by less than a second and the top twenty covered by two seconds – indicating the quality of the field assembled for the race.
Azzam and Al Mehairi made a clean start in race one as the field behind them slugged it out, with common scenes of five or six karts side-by-side heading into corners as positions changed at just about every braking point.
At the front, the leading pair circulated as if glued together, Al Mehairi – flying Sky Dive Dubai colours – stalking Azzam and waiting for a mistake or a tiny opportunity to strike. But this never materialised as Azzam gave a faultless performance on his way to maximum points, with Al Mehairi a mere 0.198 seconds adrift.
Azzam spoke afterwards, “It was really close, I could hear him behind me throughout the race. Every lap was like a qualifying lap. I managed to get a small gap towards the end, then on the final lap he got really close but somehow I managed to stay ahead. It is always nice to win against such a strong field.”
Behind them Al Mutawaa, the other Sky Dive Dubai team driver in the field, was third after fending off Sam Zian and Al Barwani who crossed the line fourth and fifth respectively.
Al Najjar finished sixth, managing to hold off Al Mansoori who was seventh. Al Halabi was eighth, ahead of Craig Shenton in ninth and Abdulla Al Ali rounding out the top ten.
Race two was a reverse order grid, which saw the top two in race one start from the last row on the 15 row grid. With the slower drivers at the front and the quicker competitors at the back, the entire race was packed with overtaking and ‘no holds barred’ battles throughout the field.
When it mattered Al Mehairi, produced one of his best displays in SWS sprint racing, as he scythed through the field, making no mistakes as he picked off 29 rivals on his way to the lead, which he took on lap nine of the 12 lap race. It was a masterful display that deserved the maximum points he received when the chequered flag waved to end the race.
“It was a good night, some very good racing with top drivers, a lot of fun. From the back of the field of course it was a challenge, but I was patient and waited just enough time to make my moves without delaying my progress through the field. I am happy to win here tonight for the Sky Dive Dubai team,” said Al Mehairi at the end of the evening, which sees him top of the points standings at the halfway mark of this edition of the Ramadan Challenge.
Second place in race two went to Ben Corby, his first podium in SWS racing, who also gave a good account of himself. He started 14th and made an early break, before settling into the lead but in the end he had no answer to Al Mehairi’s pace – nevertheless he was best of the rest.
Azzam was third, also having started from the last row of the grid and making his way through the field, with Mohammed Al Ghurair impressing on his return to the track with fourth place. Al Barwani was fifth, after holding off Al Mansoori and Saeed Bin Touq in the final stages of the race – the trio crossing line within half a second of one another, almost side-by-side.
Hussain Umid Ali was eighth ahead of ninth placed Al Mutawaa and Saeed Al Falasi crossing the line tenth.
The third round of the SWS Ramadan Challenge takes place at the Indoor Kartdrome on Monday, 29 July with the fourth and final round scheduled for Monday, 5 August on the outdoor track.
Points scored in these four rounds of the SWS Ramadan Challenge count towards SWS global rankings, whereby the top drivers in the UAE will qualify to contest the SWS World Finals at the end of the season.
A further incentive in this year’s Ramadan Challenge is the fact that prizes are up for grabs, including an official test day with leading race team Energy Kart Dubai, with team Mechanic (worth AED 2,000), a race meeting in the Rotax Max Challenge round at Dubai Kartdrome fully paid for, including new tyres, fuel, mechanical support by Energy Race Team (worth AED4,600), Dubai Autodrome Race and Drive Center products, Kartdrome merchandise, free or reduced entries to remaining SWS Races, vouchers for OMP race wear products and TAG Heuer sunglasses.
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