The appearance of Jones inspired spirited competition throughout the event and the evening started with the SWS Juniors (ages 7-14) lining up on the Outdoor Circuit at Dubai Kartdrome.
Veteran driver Kamal Agha signalled his intent early on by jumping to the top of the qualifying screens with a best lap time of 1:25.267, a comfortable 1.219 seconds over his closest rival, Patrick Debattista.
Kamal started on pole but could not hold the top position, as red hot Seif Al Naggar stormed through the field from eighth on the grid to take victory in Race One, consigning Agha to second. Danny Shields trailed closely behind to claim third place.
In Race Two Seif was even better, getting well clear of the rest of the pack and winning the race by an impressive 6.081 seconds over runner-up, Jad Charafeddine.
When the points from the two races were tallied, it was clear that Al Naggar would claim the top step of the podium for the night, going two for two and maximum points. Kamal Agha was the best of the rest, earning him a second place trophy while Jad Charafeddine secured third.
As the Dubai Kartdrome guest of honour for the evening, Ed Jones handed out trophies to the Juniors and then suited up to compete in the highly competitive SWS Senior category (ages 15-34).
Qualifying was incredibly close with the top eight drivers finishing within a second of each other. Ramadan Challenge titleholder Rami Azzam edged out his rivals by a mere 0.289 seconds to claim pole.
Jones could only manage sixth place on the grid, but when the starting lights blinked off for Race One the Indy Lights Champ quickly revealed his imposing driving skills, cutting through the field, overhauling race leader Azzam and taking victory by 0.238 seconds.
The driving in Race Two was even more feisty and Jones found himself swallowed up in a pack of six cars all vying for the front. The lead changed many times throughout the race, but on the last lap it was Hussain Umid Ali who broke through the group and snatched the chequered flag by a scant 0.112 seconds over Anjum Shaikh.
With the points added up, Hussain Umid Ali took top honours for the night, just pipping out Ed Jones for the second spot, while Rami Azzam collected third.
Afterwards Hussain said, “It was difficult but I was driving well, I had a good kart and I tried very hard. Against this competition, these guys have more experience, but I think I did well today.”
In the Masters sub-category of Seniors (ages 35 and older), Gianluca Elmosi claimed a surprise victory over Mohammed Ismail Ali, the usual Masters favourite. Dario Rubio followed up in third. All three drivers were level on points at the end of the night and it was only their qualifying positions that settled the tie and determined the trophies.
Rashid Al Dhaheri, one of the UAE’s most exciting karting stars has been selected to represent the UAE at the 17th edition of the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals from October 15 to 22, 2016 at the Circuito Internazionale di Napoli in Sarno, Italy.
The eight-year-old Abu Dhabi schoolboy last year became the youngest Emirati driver ever to compete on the world stage, and now becomes the youngest UAE driver to be invited to the Rotax Max Grand Finals.
Al Dhaheri made his Rotax MAX debut at the recent Al Ain Raceway Invitational challenge last month where he impressed with his pace finishing third in the Micro Max class, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process.
Fausto Ippoliti, the technical director for the Al Dhaheri Team in Italy during the Grand Finals week, said: “It is a great honor for Rashid to be representing his country on such a big stage. I have no doubt he will rise to the occasion.
“Despite his young age Rashid has the rare ability, to adapt to all conditions and find the limit of whatever kart he drives with ease.
“This will be a fantastic experience for him, where he will learn a lot and hopefully even surprise some of the older and more experienced drivers.”
Al Dhaheri will be part of a contingent of UAE who will contest the 2016 Rotax MAX Grand Finals with the aim of bringing home silverware.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella was forced out of contention from a pulsating Grand Prix of Liuzhou with technical issues after 17 of the race’s 50 laps and his demise carved a clean path for Ahmed Al-Hameli of the Emirates Racing Team to claim a stunning victory on the fifth round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship on Monday afternoon.
A delighted Al-Hameli last won a round of the series in Doha Bay in 2012, but the Emirati delivered a superb performance from pole position on the Liu River course to fend off a superb challenge from double World Champion and series leader Philippe Chiappe to record his stunning win.
Carella’s second successive disappointment gives the Team Abu Dhabi driver an uphill battle to now win the 2016 UIM F1 H2O World Championship for the fourth time.
The Italian trails series leader Chiappe by 25 points, with 40 points available at the remaining two rounds in December. Team-mate Thani Al-Qamzi delivered a solid performance in the second DAC boat and reached the finish in sixth position.
Double World Champion Sami Selio remained in title contention with the final podium position and Shaun Torrente of the Victory Team stayed in second place in the Drivers’ Championship, albeit 13 points behind Chiappe.
Team Abu Dhabi lost further ground in the UIM F1 H2O Teams’ series, with the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team now leading by 11 points from Mad Croc Baba Racing.
Rashed Al-Qamzi extended his lead in the 2016 UIM F4-S Championship to a commanding 36 points with four races to run, courtesy of an excellent 3.63sec victory in the second of the races on the Liu River.