Fourteen teams, fifty drivers and dozens of support crew took part in the first race of its kind.
With UAE Rotax Max Championship regular Eliot Jones heading up the JESS squad alongside teammates Max Tryggvason and Sam Burtonwood, it was no surprise that they claimed pole position in qualifying with a best time of 1:11.012.
Next best in qualifying was Ghost Racing Team, ahead of the Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) 3 and 1 teams respectively.
The top four were separated by a mere 0.659 of a second.
The JESS team survived a spin midway through the race, but did enough to take victory – the first ever in the ESKC – thanks to a superb team effort led by Jones and well backed up by Tryggvason and Burtonwood.
They completed 48 laps in the allocated one hour, winning by a margin of 27.468 seconds.
“That was a great way to start the first edition of the Emirates Schools Karting Championship,” said ESKC race director, David Bright.
“It was obviously impressive to see the regular karting drivers shine, but equally notable was to witness the less experienced drivers showing amazing commitment giving it their best shot.
“A strong foundation is now established for the ESKC which we are sure will grow in stature with every round. Well done to all drivers and their teams, they were all winners on the day.”
ESKC Race Day 2 at the Kartdrome takes place on Sunday, 28 February.
Teams can still enter the remaining three rounds by registering interest or entering a team on the official website: http://eskc.ae/.
The Rotax Max Challenge kicks things off with Round 9 of the championship on the traditional Kartdrome layout, while on day two the Speedway layout will be used for Round 10.
With eight of the twelve rounds of the championship done and dusted, this weekend’s results are set to play a major role in the championship outcome.
In the DD2 Class, Sanad Al Rawahi has a 119 points lead at the top of the standings, with Hussain Umid Ali second, but only four points ahead of third placed Oliver George. Umid Ali and George are first and second in the DD2 Masters.
Giulio Peroni is top of the table in the 125 Senior Max Class with 654 points, Pasqual Pook trails by 77 points in second and Ahmed Al Khamsi third with 560 points.
The 125 Junior Max is a tightly fought contest with the highly rated trio of leader Khalid Al Wagaibi, Taymour Kermanshahchi and Tehmur Chohan separated by 66 points going into the ninth week.
Mini Max championship leader Jamie Day sits out this round due to injury, giving the likes of Sem Knopjes and Shihab Al Habsi an opportunity to take command of the standings.
Mohammed Al Habsi has a solid lead with 747 points to his credit in the Micro Max class, with Alex Connor on 674 and Ali Al Shamsi in third with 590 points. There will also be three Bambino Time Trials on the day.
Track action begins on Friday with qualifying at 10.15, followed by one heat race, a pre-final and final for each class on the day.
On Sunday evening school pupils will compete in the first round of the 2016 Emirates Schools Karting Championship.
Teams made up of three or four drivers per team will battle it out in a one hour endurance race where teamwork, strategy and, of course, speed will be key to securing a win.
Drivers not affiliated to a particular school will battle it out for honours in the Nomad Cup.
Practice will take place at 17.25, followed by qualifying at 18.10.
The field will be flagged off at 18.30 for the one hour race which will feature driver swaps, with the chequered flag due to end proceedings at 19.30.
Organised by the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATCUAE), the FIA accredited Championship is open to drivers aged 15 and above, featuring 18 races over six events at Yas Marina Circuit and Dubai Autodrome from October 2016 to March 2017.
The series, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East and North African region (MENA), adds to the busy motorsport calendar in the UAE, bridges the gap between karting and Formula racing and offers another stage for local talent to shine on.
“The UAE is the first in the region to adopt the FIAs new Formula 4 Championship model, and this was made possible thanks to the excellent motor sport infrastructure we have developed here over the last decade,” said ATCUAE president Ben Sulayem.
“The UAE Formula 4 Championship is a much anticipated addition to motorsport in the UAE, and wider region.
“It is the perfect opportunity for young drivers to graduate from karting, and is the first step on the ladder to a career as a professional driver.
“It would be fantastic to see a driver progress all the way from UAE Formula 4 Championship to the Formula One World Championship.”
Al Ameri, Chief Executive Officer of Yas Marina Circuit, added: “It’s a critical platform for us because it will develop the next generation of drivers that will go to the professional level and hopefully up the ladder all the way to Formula One with time.”
Each race weekend of the Championship will have two 30-minute official practice sessions, followed by a 20-minute qualifying and three 20-minute races.
The first, second and third place finishers of each race will receive podium trophies, while teams will be awarded points for their two highest-placed drivers in each race, going towards the end-of-season tally for the Team Trophy.
Overall season awards include Champion, Rookie of the Year and Team of the Year.
The tentative schedule currently has the Championship opening at Yas Marina Circuit at the end of October and concluding in the nation’s capital in mid-March.