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Feb 22, 2014 - 06:49 AM
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Kartdrome 12 Hours, Round 1 of Endurance Championship driven by Mini
Posted by: newsla on Feb 22, 2014 - 06:45 AM
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Kartdrome 12 Hours, Round 1 of Endurance Championship driven by Mini


It was a classic case of ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ for Batelco as they powered to a thrilling victory in the Kartdrome 12 Hours, Round 1 of the Endurance Championship driven by Mini, while reigning champions CG Racing 1 took top honours in the Corporate category and victory in the prestigious Nations Cup going to the all Emirati team Dubai-5. A mix of 30 top professional teams and amateur outfits gathered for battle in the season opener.

 

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Batelco lived up to Julius Caesars famous ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’ quote as the multiple Kartdrome endurance champions opted out of last year’s championship to focus on racing abroad. They returned this year with their powerful line- up of Mohamed Mattar, Alban Varutti and Ramez Azzam led by team manager Ali Abbas.

But it was not plain sailing for the Bahraini team who were fortunate to benefit from a mid-race safety car situation, when a fast section of the track needed to be repaired after a driver collided into the retaining tyre wall. He was not seriously injured.

At that point Batelco were chasing CG Racing Pro who had set a blistering pace from qualifying onward. The team from Bahrain made the most of the good fortune which came their way during the safety car period, taking the lead, keeping their cool and powering to the narrowest of victories.

They crossed the line with 577 laps covered during the course of the 12 hours of the tricky Kartdrome Switchback configuration, with a mere 6.6 seconds gap over second placed CG Racing Pro who fought to the end with David Terrien delivering a mega final stint, in pursuit of the eventual winners.

Terrien shared driving duties with Rami Azzam and Piers Pakenham-Walsh, with Habib Chouery managing the outfit.

Victorious Batelco team manager Ali Abbas said, “First I must say we are so happy to be back. Dubai Kartdrome is like our home track, they put on this fantastic event and starting the season with a win is a great feeling. We were lucky that the safety car situation played in our favour – but that’s racing – sometimes you benefit sometimes you don’t.”

“After that the boys knew what they had to do and they delivered a fantastic performance under a lot of pressure. This is the best way to say thank you to all those who welcomed our return to Dubai, and also our way of saying Batelco is back!” added Ali Abbas.

Dubai-5 consisting of Emirati drivers Ali Al Mansoori, Atef Al Barwani and Haytham Sultan finished third after a 12 hour duel with fourth placed SkyDive Dubai Falcon Racing Team , Timeless Events Racing claiming fifth and CG Racing 1 who finished sixth – less than a lap separating the quartet as they crossed the finish line at midnight.

With third place overall Dubai-5 also clinched the Nations Cup trophy for their efforts.

CG Racing 1 delivered an heroic performance, after qualifying seventh they managed a good start, but on the opening lap they were involved in a multiple kart incident which saw them drop down to the back of the field.

From then on the all Lebanese team led by Oliver Saade, and consisting of Julien Anati, Maged Traboulsi and Omar Moukacher, dug deep to work their way back to sixth place overall and top spot on the podium in the hotly contested Corporate category, and with it also second in the Nations Cup.

Lukoil Racing, from Russia, finished eighth overall which was good enough for second in the Corporate category and third in the Nations Cup.

CG Racing 2 were third in the Corporate category – making it three CG Racing teams on the podium on the night.

Winning corporate team captain Saade said, “That was a tough race for us. We were down in 30th and we fought our way back which shows the team spirit of CG Racing. Team work, discipline and the will to succeed kept pushing us. This result in the first round is a good way to start the season with a win, especially after such a tough race where little went our way. The target of course is to win the championship once again.”

Dubai Kartdrome Ryan Trutch summed up the race from his perspective, "This was a tough race as the pace was relentless throughout the 12 hours, and sets a precedent of what can be expected in the next three rounds. Driving was of the highest standards as was some of the teamwork displayed during the race. A big thank you to Mini, the marshals, officials and our own Kartdrome staff who once again delivered a top notch event."

Round 2 of the Kartdrome Endurance Championship driven by Mini takes place on 2-3 May, where teams will line-up on the grid at Dubai’s most popular karting destination for the 600 laps race.


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