Birch becomes first female driver to win race at Dubai Kartdrome

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Abigail Birch (C) with her winners trophy alongside Paul Chatenay (L) and Ronaldo Labrooy (R).

Dubai schoolgirl Abigail Birch grabbed a place in the record books at Dubai Kartdrome when she became the first female to win an SWS RX7 Senior Cup race at the venue.

Birch, a student at Regent International School in Dubai, powered her way to victory in Round 12 of the series on Monday night while young Emirati driver Rashid Al Dhaheri took top honours in only his third race in the SWS LR4 Junior race.

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Birch set an early marker by claiming pole position in qualifying. Only a second separated the top ten on the time sheets, setting the tone for an evening of close racing.

Paul Chatenay, who had qualified second, set the pace in Race 1 and took victory from Birch and Rashed Al Falasi in third, with Ronaldo Labrooy, Ahmed Alhammadi and Allen Khoury rounding out the top six.

Birch reversed the roles in Race 2 when she pulled away from Chatenay to take her maiden win. While the pair ultimately tied on 76 points apiece, Birch claimed the winner's trophy as a result of the tie-breaker by qualifying higher than Chatenay.

Constantly improving Labrooy finished third in the second race to claim third overall followed by Khoury, Alhammadi and Mohammad Akhlaq.

In the race within a race, Enrique Gluckman was overall winner in the SWS Masters, with Gary Jones third and Porus Nashir third.

From L-R: Jakub Fitzsimmons, winner Rashid Al Dhaheri and third placed Enzo Al Azhari (R).

Earlier in the day Keanu Al Azhari claimed pole position for the SWS Juniors, but in the race he dropped down the order as a massive fight ensued at the sharp end of the field, with Jakub Fitzimmons doing well to get a break to take victory by over eight seconds.

Behind him the intriguing scrap for secondary honours was decided late on the final lap, with Kamal Agha emerging from the melee to finish ahead of Al Dhaheri who took third after carving his way from ninth on the grid. Completing the top six were Giacomo Caccia, Samir Malas on his return to the series and Keanu Al Azhari.

Race 2 saw Al Dhaheri make an early break, then reel out some relentlessly consistent laps to claim victory by an impressive margin of 18 seconds. Once again there was an intense battle for second place with the chasing pack changing positions on every corner.

Enzo Al Azhari kept out of trouble to land second place ahead of Luis Velasco who climbed to third from 15th on the grid. The top six was completed by Oliver Gaenssler, Seif Al Naggar and Malas with the fastest lap for the juniors.

When the points were tallied up from both races it was Al Dhaheri who took top spot on the podium – his first in the SWS Junior series – with Fitzsimmons in second and Enzo Al Azhari third. Round 13 of the 2015 SWS Sprint Cup takes place on 19 October at the Dubai Kartdrome.

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Louis Deletraz claims Formula Renault 2.0 crown

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Delétraz celebrates his win.

Abu Dhabi backed Louis Deletraz was crowned Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 champion at the Hockenheim Ring on Sunday.

Sponsored by ADS Securities, Deletraz needed just one point from the last two races to become the 2015 series Champion, which he achieved with ease by winning both races. 

Driving for Josef Kaufmann Racing, the Swiss driver won 9 of the 16 races this year, leading the championship from the third race through to the end of the season. 

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Deletraz finished 73 points ahead of his nearest rival, his dominance placing him in a great position to progress to a higher formula. 

 “We have planned for, and as team, worked extremely hard for this day,” said Deletraz after victory.

“To have achieved our collective goal and to have won the NEC Formula Renault Championship is a fantastic achievement. I want to thank the people around me and the organisers of the series, for making this possible.”

Delétraz on pole.

The Northern European Renault Cup is one of the leading single seat formulas in Europe and is seen as a stepping-stone into Formula 1.

Louis will be looking to use his Championship success to progress his career in 2016. 

Philippe Ghanem, Vice-Chairman and CEO of ADS Securities, said: “We have always known that Louis had the ability, and this season he has proved beyond doubt that he is a star of the future.  We are delighted to be able to support and help him in his career.”

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Balooshi out to bring pride to UAE flag in season's final rally

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Balooshi has enjoyed a fine season.

UAE’s Mohammed Balooshi will be looking to end the FIM Cross Country Rally Championship on a high when the OiLibya Rally gets underway on Monday in Morocco.

He enters the five-day race in sixth position with 52 points, just one point behind fifth-placed former world champion Paulo Concalves.

It’s an impressive ranking given that this week’s event is his fifth round in the championship, having missed the Sardegna Rally in Italy in June, after not being able to secure sponsorship.

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With strong competition expected in the Moroccan desert, Balooshi acknowledges he will have to work even harder to clinch a top-10 finish with second, third and fourth-placed standings riders Mattias Walkner, Pablo Quintanilla and Sam Sunderland making up a strong field.

The riders will put their knowledge and experience to the test, only relying on their GPSs to navigate their way round the course in today’s first round.

It will be the start of the 2,291km distance they will need to cover. And despite the tough conditions, Balooshi is keen to ride the UAE flag high.

“When I go out there in the desert the motivation is always the same – make it to the finish and raise my flag at the finish line,” he said. “But this time we need more than that. This time we will race for the UAE and in the UAE’s colours. We want our people to take our achievements as their own and feel the same pride we feel for how far we’ve come with so little and so much work.”

He added: “I feel very proud of what we have achieved this year. We are a small team with a very limited budget compared to the leading teams, and we started the season with the plan to compete in two rallies and the idea to go for a third if we could.

“In the end, with a massive amount of hard work, effort and sacrifices we made it to the last round, achieving positions that no Emirati has achieved before in this championship on a motorcycle. I am even prouder as an Emirati to see my flag up there high on the world ranking.”

After supporting Balooshi, Sport2 managing director, Mahir Badri, has been impressed with the Emirati’s potential.

“Mohammed is a super professional and the results achieved this year are amazing.”

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