Dubai-based Englishman Ed Jones will hope to overcome the 16-point advantage of leader Santiago ‘Santi’ Urrutia as the Indy Lights series heads to the Watkins Glen International road course in Upstate New York for the penultimate weekend in this year’s hotly-contested series.
Englishman Dean Stoneman, Puerto Rican Felix Serralles, Californian Kyle Kaiser and Ohioan Zach Veach also are within 52 points of Urrutia.
At stake is a scholarship valued at $1 million which will ensure the champion three guaranteed races in next year’s IndyCar Series, including the 101st Indianapolis 500.
Just three races remain – one on Saturday at WGI, followed by two more at the ‘Soul Red Finale’ one week later at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey. A maximum haul of 99 points is available.
Jones, 21, who recently tested an Indy car at Watkins Glen with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, has won twice this season for the British Carlin team, and held a commanding lead in the points table until experiencing a difficult weekend at Mid-Ohio.
“The championship is the goal, but I have to go very strong in the last three races,” said Jones. “If I can be the best in those races, that’s all I can control.”
Urrutia, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Wednesday, grasped the advantage following a sweep of the two most recent races at the MidOhio Sports Car Course.
“I want to win the Indy Lights championship and, as a team, we are working hard toward that goal. I can’t afford to make any mistakes.”
Khaled Al Qubaisi and Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing are gearing up to tread into unfamiliar territory when they travel to South America for Round 5 of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the 6 Hours of Mexico, taking place this Saturday.
Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing, who are just two points adrift of the second-placed team in their category, will be looking to trim that gap at the top in their quest to be in podium contention at the 4.304km Autodrome Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.
Al Qubaisi will share driving duties with David Heinemeier Hansson of Denmark and Partick Long of the US behind the wheel of the No. 88 Porsche 911 RSR.
The team is expecting a tough race physically, not least because the circuit is new but also because of the timezone and high altitude in Mexico City where the Autodrome Hermanos Rodriguez circuit is located.
And while the challenges will be many, including some tough competition from other teams in the LMGTE Am class, Al Qubaisi and the team will be looking to study the track and find the appropriate setup during the free practice sessions.
Al Qubaisi said: “The circuit is new; and there are not many on board GT footage or simulators available to get to know the track in more detail. We will have two challenges during the practice sessions – getting used to the track and also finding the right setup.
Additionally, we don’t know how the high altitude will affect the performance of the car. So it’s going to be a very unpredictable weekend for us, but we will give it our best.”
Hamda Al Qubaisi has set her sights on glory in the third and final round of the prestigious CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy in Sweden next weekend.
The Emirati youngster will be in action at the 1.231km Asum Ring in Kristianstad with the Abu Dhabi schoolgirl, hoping to raise the UAE flag exactly a week after the country marks ‘Emirati Women’s Day’ which will be celebrated today.
For Hamda, this will be her third and final round at the prestigious CIK-FIA invitational competition, following her participation in the first and second rounds in France and Portugal in June.
In both rounds Hamda has raced remarkably reaching the final heat, but unfortunate incidents forced her to either retire or be pushed down the order.
Nevertheless, the Daman Speed Academy star is determined to give her best at the final round in Sweden.
Al Qubaisi said: “It would be great to come back with the desired result and dedicate it to the ‘Emirati Women’s Day’ which will be marked a week earlier on August 28.
“The competition has been tough so far and incident filled races have denied me a shot to be among the tough half; but then that is the nature of racing and I have no complaints.
“In Sweden the key will be stay out of trouble and hopefully I come away with the desired result. Having said that, I am really happy to have competed in this championship and gained so much experience. I am sure this experience will help me push for the top spots in the UAE Rotax Max Challenge now that I am moving up to the Junior Max class.”