Bahrain’s Batelco won the 2014 Endurance Challenge driven by Mini title after the much anticipated contest for top honours in the final round with CG Racing Pro lived up to expectations.
It was a bittersweet result for CG Racing Pro, who despite winning the final race of the four round series, had to settle for second in the championship behind Batelco.
But victories on the day in both the Corporate Category and Nations Cup ensured that CG Racing won those titles.
At noon yesterday after 24 hours, CG Racing Pro had run 1,131 laps, which was two more than Batelco and nine up on third placed CG Racing 1.
Forza Union Russia were fourth, ahead of GP Racing, Dubai-5, Timeless Events Racing, Dubai Falcon Racing Team, ENOC Racers Team and Mach1 Blacklist rounding out the top ten.
Winning team owner Choueiri Group chairman and CEO Pierre Choueri said: “We came here with the target to win all three races this weekend. It was tough but we did it against a very strong field of drivers and teams.”
For Batelco, second place in the season finale was enough to wrap up their fourth endurance title at the Kartdrome, making them the most successful team in the history of the event along with Nivea For Men Professionals.
Meanwhile, Formula One driver Fernando Alonso’s Puntonas team, which included McLaren F1 test driver Stoffel Vandoorne and Ferrari race engineer Andrea Stella, were at one stage in fifth place, but had to settle for 11th place which earned them the Best New Team Award for their efforts.
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) November 28, 2014
Alonso, who drove a number of sessions during the night and also the final stint for his team, said afterwards: “It is a good event and very well organised, with some very good teams. I decided to enter the race and invited some of my friends, and we had a good time.”
Stella added: “We learnt a lot not only about the driving style for these karts but also about strategy.”
Jordanian drifter Ahmad Daham put in a stellar performance in front of a seven thousand strong crowd at the Red Bull Car Park Drift Grand Final 2014, which was held under the umbrella of the Dubai Motor Festival.
The new champ scored 257 points aboard his Nissan Silvia, one point ahead of Ali Al Bloushi who was flying the Omani flag in another Silvia.
Egypt’s Haytham Samir grabbed his spot on the podium with 236 points, after his BMW E46 lost power in the ‘Box’.
Lebanese drifter Bassam Zahlan, crashed out his BMW M3 on the final run, and placed fourth overall.
After celebrating his win, Daham said: “I did not expect the competition to be that tough. My team and I have been working hard over the past year to get to where we are on this very day at the Red Bull Car Park Drift Grand Final.
"This is great honour for the team and I can’t wait to take the trophy back home!”
The Grand Final was presided over by international drifting stars Ken Gushi, Dai Yoshihara and Aleksandr Grinchuk who judged the participants according to a set of six criteria.
Forty percent of the mark was allocated to drifting skills, while proximity to the clipping point, and car look and design each gave the drivers 15 percent of the mark.
Tire smoke, car sound, and performance in the ‘Box’, a tight enclosure the drifters needed to do a ‘donut’ in, each contributed 10 percent towards the total score.
The Red Bull Middle East Car Park Drift Grand Final was part of “Dubai Motor Festival”, and was held in partnership with Ford Middle East, Sony Action Cam, Meydan, Pirelli, MBC Action and Al Arabiya 99.
Double world champion F1 driver Fernando Alonso was the star driver who lined up to contest the Dubai Kartdrome 24 Hours, the final round of the 2014 Endurance Challenge driven by Mini.
The Spaniard entered a team under the name of Puntonas with himself, his Ferrari engineer Andrea Stella and McLaren test driver Stoffel Vandoorne all taking to the track where they came up against the UAE's best leisure kart drivers, along with a host of international teams.
The Puntonas drivers had very little track time but Vandoorne qualified 14th, and even managed to make his way into the top six within the first hour of the race.
At the sharp end, setting the pace throughout qualifying and the early stages of the race were championship contenders Batelco and CG Racing Pro, the Bahrain team with Alban Varutti on duty starting from pole with CG Racing Pro's David Terrien, starting from fifth, chasing hard and within the first half hour they were up to second.
Forza Union Russia were best of the formidable international contingent, qualifying seventh and making their way to third and leading the Nations Cup early on, followed by Dubai-5 made up of all Emirati drivers.
CG Racing 1 were the early pace setters in the Corporate Category, with Lukoil Racing Team keeping them in their sights.
The first hour set the stage for what will be a titanic tussle across the field with the three titles – Pro Category, Corporate Category and Nations Cup – to be decided in this race, the final of the four rounds series.
Kartdorme manager Ryan Trutch said: "We are privileged to have a driver of Fernando Alonso's stature compete in our race, along with his team which includes the highly talented Stoffel Vandoorne. They have done remarkably well to cope with the challenges, given that they had never driven before at the Kartdrome."
"Fernando has asked for, and received, no special treatment, endearing himself to the other drivers and teams with his passion and dedication to the cause – namely doing well out on track," added Trutch.
The 29-strong field was flagged off at 12 noon on Friday at the Kartdrome, and the chequered flag will bring proceedings to an end at 12 noon on Saturday.