Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair maintained an impressive pace throughout a processional second round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup on Monte Carlo’s famous street circuit on Sunday.
The Lechner Racing Team Middle East driver had qualified 12th for the 16-lap race and, with overtaking difficult on the narrow course, the race became processional for long periods.
The Omani managed to climb one place to finish 11th and claim five valuable championship points to add to the three he secured in Barcelona.
Pole winner Nick Yelloly was able to fend off series leader and defending champion Michael Ammermuller to claim the win and Dylan Pereira managed to pass Kuwait’s Zaid Ashkanani early in the race to snatch third place. Dutchman Jaap van Lagen finished fourth.
Al Zubair said: “Qualifying had been a little disappointing but I am pleased with the 12th place in the race. We were faster than the guys in front and always catching them and staying ahead of the guys behind.
“But this is Monaco and the track is only wide enough for one car. Unless there is an accident or a mistake from another driver, it is almost impossible to overtake.
“I tried to go for it but it’s too difficult and you risk crashing out. We are aiming for the points in the championship. We actually got P11 because the driver two places in front of us made a jump-start. Always we were on the pace today but qualifying determines the race here.”
Yelloly managed to fend off Ammermuller and Pereira through the opening corners, although Mark Ratcliffe was handed a stop and go penalty. Al Zubair started 12th and maintained that through the first four laps. Magnus Oehman then forced a brief yellow flag when he missed his braking point.
There were no changes among the front-runners through six laps as the procession continued and Al Zubair reached the halfway point in 12th. But Ammermuller began to put even more pressure on the leading Yelloly and Pereira closed in on the leading duo. A yellow flag was raised when Tom Sharp collided with the guardrails by the casino, retired and his car was removed from the circuit.
Racing resumed and Ammermuller continued to nibble at Yelloly’s coat tails in a bid to snatch the lead. With four laps to run, the top 10 remained unchanged and Al Zubair stayed in 12th although Yelloly escaped a minor scrape with the rail at the swimming pool chicane.
The yellow flag was raised again to remove some debris off the track under the tunnel but Yelloly maintained his lead over Ammermuller and Pereira heading into the last two laps.
There were no late surprises and Yelloly claimed the chequered flag from Ammermuller, Pereira and Van Lagen. Al Zubair crossed the finish line 12th and was elevated to 11th when a rival was penalised for a jump-start.
Racing in the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup resumes at the Red Bull ring in Austria from June 30-July 1, but Al Zubair will visit the same circuit on from June 8-10 to take part in the second round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland.
UAE champion and Prema Powerteam driver sponsored by Kaspersky Lab, Amna Al Qubaisi will make her Formula 4 debut when the first round of the F4 Italian championship gets underway at Adria in Italy on Sunday.
Amna, the star of Daman Speed Academy, will aim to learn and to build her experience in the single seater racing to be amongst the best in the business at the Formula 4 Italian season which will get underway at the Adria International Raceway.
It will conclude at the Mugello Circuit on October 28, championship comprising of a total of seven race weekends.
Amna had tested with Prema Powerteam in Abu Dhabi earlier this year and came up with flying colours resulting in her being selected to race for the team.
“I’m so excited about the 2018 season of the Formula 4 Italian championship,” she said. “I have been training hard with Prema Powerteam and I feel ready ahead of my debut season.
“I am a rookie in this format of racing, but that does not mean I won’t be pushing hard. I aim to learn more and prove myself in one of the most important F4 championships in the world that has a huge grid.
“I would like to thank Kaspersky Lab, Renoir consulting, Italia Independent, Garage Italia, Gaudi Jeans, Omeir Travel Agency and Abu Dhabi Racing for the huge support and in believing in me.”
Having secured a fourth UAE Sportbike Championship recently, Mahmoud Tannir believes he still has the motivation and hunger to challenge for more silverware.
Tannir has been in stunning form all season, winning six races and finishing second in four of the twelve races, before clinching the championship in round six.
Despite the success on track, it’s been a difficult season off it for the Honda rider as crashes and bike problems curtailed an otherwise victorious season.
“It was one of the toughest seasons for me, competition wise at the beginning but mostly on the mental side later on,” Tannir told Sport360.
“I had the most amount of crashes for few reasons, couple of own mistakes and trying to understand new tires, but mostly due to a technical problem that we only managed to find out about it just before the end of the season.
“The worst thing for a racer is not knowing the reason of crashing out as you end up going in circles trying many things, but ultimately we found the problem and had to bring in new parts. After this it was normal business again.”
Tannir, who lives in Dubai and has been competing in the Sportbike Championship for over ten years, went into the final round with a commanding 37 point lead and needed only to finish on the podium to secure the trophy, making for a less tense race day.
In an ultra competitive 600 cc competition, Tannir’s victory makes it a four titles since 2013, but it’s his latest triumph that the Lebanese rates among his greatest.
Earlier this year, he lost a friend and competitor Federico Fratelli, who died after his bike crashed during one of the rounds of the championship at Dubai Autodrome.
“Fredrico’s death had a big impact on everyone and myself included. It affected the racing atmosphere here and also made finishing the season very hard,” Tannir said.
“But I chose to honour him in the best way possible by trying to win this championship. I was lucky to share a podium with Federico and I’d like to want to dedicate my fourth title to him.”
With the popularity of Sportbikes continuing to flourish in the region, Tannir believes organisers need to capitalise on its growth.
“We have championships in three countries in the region and always new faces emerge. Now there is a new track in Kuwait which will be a good addition to the region and the sport as well,” he added.
“It’s good that we can all compete in different championships to raise the level of the sport in the region, but the organisers here need to work better on making it more affordable to everyone and especially for racers coming from abroad to compete in the UAE also.”