Report: Day 1 of the Kartdrome Double Header

Oct 27, 2013, 08:04 ET from Dubai Autodrome

DUBAI, UAE, October 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Dubai Kartdrome hosted Round 2 of the 2013-2014 UAE Rotax Max Challenge Championship and SWS Sprint Series on Friday (25 October 2013) where record fields and close racing were the order of the day.

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In the Max Seniors class British multiple champion Sean Babington was 'imported' by the UAE Energy Team and started the day impressively by qualifying on pole on  a track he has never raced on. Credit to Ameer Hassan and Tom Bale - both bred at the Kartdrome - who made Babington work hard on the day. In fact Hassan won the Heat race and Pre-Final, but Babington got his maths right to take the Final, with Hassan second by a mere 0.143 seconds and Bale third.

Babington said afterwards, "The day started good for me. I qualified first, but I struggled a bit at the start. Then we broke a chain over the kerbs which forced me to start the Pre-Final off the back and made my way to third. We made a few setup changes for the Final, made a good start, got into second place and sat behind the leader [Hassan] for a few laps, biding my time and then when it was good to go I got past him and won the race."

When asked about his impressions about the karting scene in the UAE, Babington said, "I think the scene looks good. It may need a few more drivers but it looks like more will be attracted to the series. Things are setup very well and the drivers at the front are as good as the good guys anywhere I race."

In the DD2 class Piers Pakenham Walsh, another product of the Kartdrome, ruffled up the hierarchy to claim his first victory in the highly competitive category. But again the winner did not have it all his own way and had to battle hard for top honours, as Oliver George and Maurits Knopjes took a win apiece ahead of the Final - the trio inseparable all day. But in the Final Pakenham Walsh found a way past George and went on to score his maiden win in the DD2 category.

Afterwards Pakenham Walsh summed up his day, "Started off with some chassis problems during testing on Thursday, but pulled it all together overnight with some hard work. So we qualified second, but slipped down to third in the heat and then second again in the Pre-Final. Made a good move halfway through the Final, then I managed to stay in the lead and take the win, very happy."

"Ultimately this year I want to win the championship, but really getting experience is very important and of course getting as many wins as possible in the process. Hopefully it will all work out in the end," added Pakenham Walsh.

Other Rotax Max Challenge results on the day include:

  • Walid Al Qassemi won the Max Master ahead of second placed Kevin Day and Abdullah Al Ali in third.
  • Maurits Knopjes took top spot in the DD2 Master ahead of Jonathan Mowatt and Andrew Fuller in second and third respectively.
  • Pascal Pook dominated the Junior Max class with a hat-trick of wins on the day including the final where he finished ahead of second placed Giulio Peroni and third placed Sheikh Isa Salman Al Khalifa.
  • Shehab Al Habsi was also dominant in the Micro Max class winning all three races including the all important Final with Jamie Day second and Ziggy Kermanshahchi third.
  • Tehmur Chohan in the Mini Max class was another triple winner on the day including the Final with Yahya Hosuton and Yusuf Moola second and third respectively.

It was back to business for the SWS Sprint Cup Series drivers after a layoff since the Ramadan Challenge - the series sharing the bill with the Rotax Max races on the first day of the Kartdrome double header.

In the SWS RX7 Cup the competition was fierce with the top twenty separated by just over a second with the 'usual suspects' battling it out for the top prize in two separate sprint races.

From the outset Sam Zian, Atef Al Barwani, Ali Al Mansoori, Rasul Akhmetshin and Hussain Umid Ali signalled their intent as they qualified within 0.413 of a second of one another with Zian taking pole position with a time of 1:11.828. The scene was set for a fierce contest.

Al Mansoori survived an action Race 1 to take victory from Umid Ali in second and Zian third after Al Barwani was penalised for getting an advantage by contact during the race when looking certain to finish on the podium. Instead the transgression saw him drop down to eighth.

In Race 2, Umid Ali triumphed after a four-way battle with Al Barwani bouncing back to take second, Al Manossir third and Zian fourth. The quartet crossing the line in a close-knit convoy.

In the SWS LR4 races, for youngsters between 7 and 14, several young drivers made their debut including the likes of Ryan Gourzong, Yanal Bitar, George Prophet, Luis Velasco and Anastassia Safonova.

In the first race Mansour Al Sarraj was the class of the field as he powered to a convincing win with Freddie Barker second, albeit 11.3 seconds adrift when the chequered flag waved. Khaled Saab was third.

The battle for victory in Race 2 will go down as one of the most exciting of the day as Denis Bahar and Al Sarraj slugged it out for nine laps. The pair, more often than not, side by side as they tussled for top spot. In the end Bahar did enough to snatch the win by a mere 0.110 of a second, with Saab enjoying another third place finish.

Report: Day 2 of the Kartdrome double header

Dubai Kartdrome hosted Round 3 of the 2013-2014 UAE Rotax Max Challenge Championship on Saturday (26 October) as part of a double header weekend, with over 100 of the country's top kart drivers in action.

The Energy UAE Kart Team struck gold when they invited British champion Sean Babington to compete in the double header as he proved to be a model of professionalism on his way to dominating proceedings on day two in the Senior Max class. After winning the final on the first day, he simply got better with each race and cruised to victory in the Final on the second day.

Babington summed up his experience in Dubai, "We started the weekend on the back foot with a couple of issues. We were struggling a bit with the grip, but as the weekend progressed we got better and better. In today's final I managed to do three very quick laps early on in the lead and thereafter controled the gap. All credit to my mechanic James Bean who worked hard all weekend to sort out the problems and make sure I had a very good kart. All in all it was a great experience. The Kartdrome is a real drivers circuit which I really enjoyed racing on. Also a big thank you to Kevin Day and the Energy UAE Team for the opportunity, I hope to come back again."

Local heroes Tom Bale and Ameer Hassan were expected to challenge the British ace, but were luckless on the day as Bale suffered a DNF in the Pre-Final which meant a back of the grid start for the Final. Ameer Hassan took the battle to Babington early on in the race, but a technical issue forced him to retire while lying second and plotting a challenge for top spot. Patrick Hannah made the most of the opportunity to take second place, with Alexandre Silanine claiming third place.

Raed Hassan was unbeatable in the Max Masters class, signaling his intent early on by claiming pole position before powering to victory in all three races, including the Final. Duncan Foster was second with Abdulla Al Ali third.

Hassan was visibly pleased with his day at the Kartdrome, "Today was a great day from the start after a bad first day where I had so many problems and incidents. I worked very hard, especially in the build-up to this double header. I trained all week and this is a reward for the efforts. I am really getting used to the kart and by keeping out of trouble I managed this win. I am very happy and for sure I am targeting to win the Max Masters championship this season. It will be tough because there are many good drivers with the same goal."

All weekend the DD2 class was a three-way battlefield for top honours between Maurits Knopjes, Oliver George and Piers Pakenham Walsh. There was little to separate the trio throughout and no different on day two. George did the business in qualifying by taking pole and wins in the Heat and Pre-Final, but in the Final it was Pakenham Walsh who stole victory when George and Knopjes, battling for the lead, tangled. George gave it his best in the final laps with a superb recovery, but in the end he had to settle for second, with Knopjes third. It was a big weekend for Pakenham Walsh who a day earlier scored his maiden win in the DD2 class.

Pakenham Walsh reflected, "Today's victory was much tougher to earn than my first one 24 hours earlier. With my rivals on fresh rubber I had to work hard in the Heat and Pre-Final, but once I fitted my new tyres for the Final I knew I had a chance. Early on Maurits got ahead of me and I was running third. I hung back watched them battle for the lead, and unfortunately for them they had an incident. I capitalized on it and got ahead, then opened a small gap and then taking the victory. A very good day and a big thanks to Mom and Dad!"

Knopjes did enough to take maximum points in the DD2 Masters category ahead of Jonathan Mowatt and Patrick Jarjour who were second and third respectively.

Some of the closest racing took over the period of the two days took place in the Junior Max class, with the top nine drivers separated by under a second in qualifying. At the sharp end there was very little to separate the likes of Giulio Peroni, Pascal Pook, Taymour Kermanshahchi, Waheeb Al-Kharusi, Fraser Rose, Khalid Al Wahaibi and Sheikh Isa Salman Al Khalifa. But in the final it was Pook who rose to the occasion to claim victory, ahead of Giulio Peroni in second and third place going to Kermanshahchi.

Other Finals results on the day included:

  • Tehmur Chohan took top honours in the Mini Max class ahead of second placed Yahya Houston and Daniel Booth in third.
  • Shehab Al Habsi dominated the Micro Max class with three out of three victories including the final, with Jamie Day second and third going to Ziggy Kermanshahchi.
  • It was a case of like father like son Kris Knopjes (son of multiple UAE champion Maurits Knopjes) topped the timing sheets in both the Bambino category time trials held on the day. Saqir Al Qassemi and Shrey Holmukhe were second and third respectively in both time trials.

Kartdrome manager Ryan Trutch summed up the two action packed days,  "It has  been two very busy days at the Kartdrome. On the first day there a lot of incidents, but today - after a collective talking to by the officials - the drivers were very well behaved and in fact the level of driving was excellent and as a result we saw some fantastic racing. Thank you to our crew at the Kartdrome and the AARKC for bringing the UAE Rotax Max Challenge to our venue. All in all two very successful days of high intensity racing and now we look forward to their next visit in January."

The UAE Rotax Max championship returns to the Kartdrome, again as a double header for Round 7 and Round 8 on 17-18 January 2014.

Click on link to download high resolution image:

Results Day 1

Results Day 2

Senior Max winner Sean Babington leads the pack in the Final

Close contact in the DD2 battle between Oliver George and Maurits Knopjes

Raed Hassan won the Max Masters Class

All the Rotax Max drivers pose for photographers at the end of Day 2 at the Kartdrome

SOURCE Dubai Autodrome