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Apr 14, 2014 - 01:37 PM
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Round 5 of SWS Sprint Series at the Kartdrome
Posted by: newsla on Apr 14, 2014 - 01:35 PM
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Round 5 of SWS Sprint Series at the Kartdrome

Round five of the 2014 SWS Sprint Series, held at the Dubai Kartdrome Outdoor Circuit on Monday 13 April, attracted another sizeable field of talented drivers to compete for top honors in the SWS Senior RX7 and SWS LR4 Junior karting categories, and once again the series delivered some close racing.


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The junior karters were first up for the evening and were immediately competitive, with the top five qualifiers all clocking in within a second of the best time of 1:26.382, set by Samuel Garbutt.

Race one commenced with some early incidents, including one false start and one disqualification, but once the proceedings began in earnest the pole sitter was soon deposed and three drivers emerged from the field to battle it out. Freddie Barker, Zaid Alami and, UAE’s 2014 SWS World Finals representative, Mansoor Al Sarraj scrapped for the lead, but it was Mansoor who prevailed comfortably at the finish line, a full four seconds ahead of his nearest rival. Zaid nabbed second place followed by Freddie in third.

Race two was a much closer contest, with the top three drivers all keeping within one second of each other the entire race. Zaid Alami was back in the hunt, nipping at the heels of Omar Al Sheybah and Samir Malas. The trio scuffled bumper to bumper on the 1.2km track, but when the chequered flag waved it was Samir who triumphed, a mere 0.192 seconds ahead of Omar. Zaid took third, only 0.803 seconds off the pace for second place, and Mansour Al Sarraj just missed another podium with a fourth place finish.

The SWS Senior RX7 category then took centre stage with Atef Al Barwani out-gunning an extremely competitive pack of drivers in qualifying to take pole position; the next nine qualifiers on the grid were all within a second of Atef’s blazing mark of 1:11.636.

In addition to the extremely close qualifying times, the RX7 races had the added intrigue of a special international guest, Luke Varley (2007 British Kart Champion, 2009 European Kart Champion, and 2009 World Kart Champion) racing at the Dubai Kartdrome for the first time. He qualified fourth, but once the race started he was soon fighting local top guns for a podium position.

A fierce skirmish ensued, but Atef Al Barwani was not too be intimidated by the outsider, finally coasting in for a win 3.779 seconds ahead of Luke Varley, who was closely pursued by Ali Al Mansoori in third.

Race two saw action on another level. Turn 9, the infamous hard braking corner following the high-speed tunnel, delivered chaos in the middle of the race when one kart spun off, causing a chain reaction of spins, collisions and karts in the gravel. Ali Al Mansoori’s race was almost compromised by the incident but he recovered and soon instigated a duel with Luke Varley for third position.

As Luke and Ali wrestled wheel to wheel, Hassain Umid Ali and Atef Al Barwani were able to pull away and go for the win. Hassain prevailed, followed closely by Atef, and Ali Al Mansoori swiped the final podium spot, just .404 seconds ahead of Varley in fourth.

Maz Nawaz missed the podium in fifth place but did manage to get fastest lap on the night with a blistering 1:11.827.

Luke Varley reflected after his first race experience in Dubai, “It’s a pretty good thing you guys have going here. I heard that Dubai Kartdrome have made SWS popular here in Dubai and that the grids are large, so it seemed like great fun to enter. I am so glad I did, haven’t had as much fun in years! The level and standard of racing here really impressed me; it was very tight up the front. It’s perfect practice for my race craft, as the karts are so equal, which I will need for the European Championships this summer.”

David Bright, Dubai Kartdrome Assistant Manager summed up the event, “It is fantastic to see 36 karts on the grid, which is the largest grid size in UAE sprint karting history – in any category. Having a world champion like Luke Varley enter and mix it up with the regulars was great. Even better was to see our regulars prospering, with two local Dubai Kartdrome members winning a race apiece. With grids like this in SWS ever increasing, it is a positive note for UAE motorsport on the whole.”

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