Saeed Al Mehairi, Mohammed Mattar and Ramez Azzam of Batelco Racing are now two-for-two after winning the second round of the Endurance Championship at Dubai Kartdrome on Saturday.
Team Emirates topped the Corporate Class and ZOOM Racing Team earned its first Nations Cup victory.
A total of 29 teams lined up for the Le Mans style running start of the race on the 1.245 kilometre Switchback Circuit at Dubai Kartdrome. The 600-lap endurance race started at 19.00 on Friday and took almost 13 hours to finish by Saturday morning.
Ramez Azzam got Batelco Racing off to a great start by topping timing screens during qualifying with a blazing lap time of 1:10.620, just 0.030 seconds ahead of arch-rivals CG Racing Pro and 0.051 seconds ahead of Bin Drai Karting Team in third.
CG Racing Pro got the jump on the opening lap, but it only took a few trips around the track for Azzam to regain the lead for Batelco. From there it was a tight race between the two heavyweight teams, with Bin Drai Karting Team and ZOOM Racing Team intermittently challenging for the front as well.
Methodical strategy and relentless pace throughout the night kept Batelco Racing just out of reach of rival teams. Saeed Al Mehairi wrapped up the 600th lap and crossed the finish line 31.650 seconds ahead of Alban Varutti of CG Racing Pro.
The overall win gave Batelco Racing its second Pro Class victory in a row, with CG Racing Pro having to settle for second place both times and Bin Drai Karting Team also repeating its third place position on the Pro podium.
“The team did a fantastic job. The crew and drivers followed the strategy from the beginning. We worked hard and pushed, and the strategy worked really nice for us,” said Batelco Racing team representative, Ali Abbas.
Team Emirates managed to top the Corporate Class for the second round in a row, despite early setbacks which had two Choueiri Group (CG) teams out in front for the first half of the race. The team kept consistent throughout the contest and eventually regained the lead, taking the class win.
CG Racing 1 took home second place silverware in Corporate, while IUM Racing claimed third.
In the Nations Cup, for drivers of the same nationality, ZOOM Racing Team achieved an upset victory over veteran squad Dubai Falcon Racing Team. ZOOM suffered a spin out on the opening lap, dropping down to last place on the grid, but the Indian drivers managed to claw back into the race and finish an astonishing fourth place overall.
It was a maiden Nations Cup win for ZOOM Racing Team, followed by the all-Emirati Dubai Falcon Racing Team in second place and Lukoil Racing Team of Russia in third.
Having dominated the final day of the season at RAK Track in Ras Al Khaimah, Al Dhaheri added to his Dubai ‘O’ Plate title claimed in January 2017.
Al Dhaheri started race day on RAK Track by claiming pole position in slippery conditions, posting a time half a second quicker than the next best in the Cadet class of 8-12 years.
In the Pre-Final and Final, the young Emirati made no mistakes, powering across the line with an eight second lead in both races to claim maximum points on the day and the UAE IAME Cadet Championship title.
“I am really happy to take this IAME Championship Cadet title home with me,” said the nine-year-old.
“Winning the race and the championship at the same time is a very good feeling. Thanks to the RAK Track for organising a great series, to my family, my sponsors and to my team for the support.”
While the UAE season has now come to a close, Al Dhaheri will be racing in Europe again this year in various high-level junior championships.
He will participate in 15 races over the next couple of weeks with the highly rated Italian BabyRace team, with his next outing scheduled to be at the first round of the 2017 Italian Championship, at Lonato, on April 30.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella salvaged fourth position from a disappointing 16th Grand Prix of Portugal on the Arade river in Portimao, on Sunday.
Team-mates Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi suffered engine issues and were unable to challenge for honours at the opening round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship, won by the French three-time champion Philippe Chiappe.
Pole position winner Shaun Torrente lost his lead early on and retired on lap 10, with Finland’s double World Champion Sami Selio taking second and Duarte Benavente clinched third at his home race.
The Al-Qemzis did not start the race due to their issues, while UAE’s Victory Team suffered the same fate with Ahmed Al Hameli not making the race start and American team-mate Shaun Torrente retiring after ten laps.
After losing the whole of Saturday because of gale force winds, H2O racing officials had to cram an entire weekend of racing into one day’s timetable on the Arade River.
BRM qualifying was moved to the morning and the 16th Grand Prix of Portugal slotted into a revised schedule that was again weather dependent.