Al Azhari crowned TRD 86 Cup champion

Anthony Fernandes 06:27 13/04/2015
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Champion stuff: Karim Al Azhari.

Karim Al Azhari was crowned champion of the TRD 86 Cup championship following one win and a runner-up finish in the final two races of the series over the weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit.

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Al Azhari first finished second in Race 1 of Round 6, clocking 21min and 32.24sec and then went on to win Race 2 in a time of 21min 49.119sec to seal the championship title.

The former Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East driver said: “It’s a great feeling to win and it is a dream come true to triumph in my home city.

“It took a lot of hard work but to win in Abu Dhabi is very special. It’s a very fair championship because all the cars are equal so it’s down to the skill of the driver in the end.

“My fellow racers were extremely competent and in fact several of the guys were quicker than me in the race laps but I was consistent and that proved key to my success.

“I value the fact that we’ve all become good friends, we’re almost like a family. I’ve tried to help the other drivers with training and instruction and it has been a tremendous championship – a fantastic experience.”

Ahmed Al Melaihi took second overall after chasing Al Azhari throughout all six rounds. His first and second place meant that he finished ahead of Sam Taheri, who completed the final podium place.

“I’ve improved a lot throughout the championship. This was my first experience of racing other than karting so it was a steep learning curve,” said Al Melaihi. “I learned a lot from the other drivers, from Karim, my coach and my team – they all helped me.

“It’s been a superb opportunity to constantly learn and improve in a professional motorsports environment and I would like to thank everyone involved.”

Yas Marina Circuit CEO Al Tareq Al Ameri said: “Demand for next year’s championship is already building and we’ll see an even bigger and competitive grid for next season’s racing.”

In addition to the TRD 86 Cup, drivers raced against the clock in the UAE Time Attack. In the A & B class Heat, Fadi Bikawi was the fastest of the group, posting the quickest lap of 2min and 07.671sec, followed by Khalid Al Qubaisi (2:18.920) and Mohammed (2:26.226) going third fastest.

In the final heat of classes C & D, Ahmed Jimmy posted the quickest lap of 2min and 31.491sec. Saad Alomaira (2:35.405) and Yaser Mohamed (2:37.021) finished second and third respectively.

Fans of modified racing were also treated to the last outing of the Middle East Radical Cup, with the top three honours decided by less than 20 seconds.

Sergey Shalunov crossed the finish line in a total of 45min and 50.534sec, closely followed by Tony Wells (45min, 59.825sec) in second, with Jafer Smith placing third (46min, 09.983 sec).

The new season of the Yas Racing Series gets under way in October later this year.

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