Dubai Kartdrome hosted Round 11 of the 2015 SWS Sprint Series on Monday night, with Anjum Shaikh and Vincent Fraisse winning the senior races, Adrian Jones tops in the SWS Masters, and Seif Al Naggar and Oliver Walton doing the business in the junior category.
It was clear from qualifying that the racing for the 30 drivers would be close in the SWS Seniors class as the top dozen drivers were within one second and the difference between the top five a mere tenth of a second – reigning SWS champion Atef Al Barwani claimed pole position.
In Race 1 Anjum Shaikh shone as he turned seventh place on the grid into a win, edging Rai Azzam by 0.087 of a second as they crossed the finish line.
Ahmed Al Hammadi claimed third, albeit three seconds behind the leading duo, with schoolgirl Abi Birch fourth, Paul Chatenay fifth, Romaldo Rabroy sixth, Rashid Bin Humaidan seventh, Maz Nawar eighth, Hussein Umid Ali ninth and SWS debutant Nicolas Fargeas rounding out the top ten.
Newcomer Vincent Fraisse, a French karting champion, signaled his intent by qualifying second but had a tough introduction to the rigours of SWS in the UAE in the first race and found himself finishing down in 12th.
In Race 2, Fraisse showed his true class, carving his way through the field to claim victory – the first time a driver has won on his debut SWS race event at the Kartdrome.
Behind him Azzam was second again, ahead of Labrooy in third who was chased across the line by Nawaz, Umid Ali, Birch, Shaikh, Allan Khoury, Chatenay and Ali Al Mansoori tenth.
Azzam's double second place was enough to see him walk away with the winner's trophy for combined race points, with Shaikh second and Birch third in the points table.
In the ‘race-within-a-race’ SWS Masters, Adrian Jones did the treble by claiming wins in both races and thus ended top points scorer on the night. Porus Nashir was second and Ziad Merhi third.
In the SWS juniors a new format of combined practice and qualifying followed by two races was introduced and attracted 20 drivers to the grid.
From the outset Seif Al Naggar set the pace by claiming top spot in qualifying and then turning that into a win after a race-long duel with Jakub Fitsimmons who finished second and Oliver Walton in third.
Kamal Agha drove a storming race and turned 19th on the grid to fourth place, with Luis Velasco fifth and Maxine Dubois sixth.
Race 2 saw the leading trio battling it out for all nine laps, this time with Patrick Debattista also in the mix. There was little to separate the quartet as they crossed the line with Walton taking a narrow victory ahead of Al Naggar, De Battista and Fitsimmons in his slipstream. Velasco was fifth and Dubois sixth.
Round 12 of the 2015 SWS Sprint Series takes place at Dubai Kartdrome on 5 October 2015.
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The world’s best squash players are heading to Dubai after the Professional Squash Association (PSA) announced that the season-ending World Series Finals will be staged in the emirate for the next three years.
Under the official name of ‘PSA Dubai World Series Finals’, the 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 competitions will all take place in the emirate after an agreement was reached between the PSA and Dubai Sports Council, facilitated by Falcon and Associates.
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In order to compete at the spectacular season-ending event in late May of each year, both the Men’s and Women’s players will have to rank in the top eight on the ‘PSA Road To Dubai Standings’. Ranking points are accumulated at every PSA World Series tournament which sees players compete in nine locations around the world before reaching Dubai.
The PSA World Series 2015-16 season kicks off in Philadelphia in October, followed by Qatar and Seattle in November, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur in December before moving to New York City in January, Chicago in February, Egypt in April, United Kingdom in May and the World Series Finals in Dubai later that month.
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) September 16, 2015
With many of the sport’s high-ranking players hailing from the Middle East, the PSA Dubai World Series Finals will build on the already strong regional presence and popularity of squash.
Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, His Excellency Saeed Hareb said: “Hosting the PSA Word Series Finals in Dubai is an opportunity for us to create further awareness of the prestigious game in this part of the world. We are confident that this event will help raise the profile of the professional game and boost its popularity in Dubai, the UAE and across the region.”
Further information on the PSA World Series and the PSA World Tour is available online here: www.psaworldtour.com.