BATELCO RACING WINS 2017 DUBAI KARTDROME ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Team Emirates tops Corporate Class and ZOOM Racing Team claims Nations Cup
Dubai, UAE, 17 December 2017: CG Racing Pro won the fourth and final race of year, but it was Batelco Racing, with drivers Mohammed Mattar, Ramez Azzam and Saeed Al Mehairi, who took home the Pro Championship crown at the Dubai Kartdrome Endurance Championship on Saturday (16 December).
After 1132 laps and 24 hours of endurance racing, Batelco Racing had to overcome early setbacks to come from P22 all of the way back up to second place, securing an unprecedented fifth Pro Category title.
The drama started early on in qualifying, and not even a guest appearance by double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso could knock the Bahraini team off course in their quest for the championship.
Alonso and his all Spanish team, FA Racing, appeared to have pole position wrapped up with his best lap time of 1:11.247 topping the timing screens, but in the dying seconds of qualifying Ramez Azzam of Batelco Racing clocked a monster lap of 1:11.198, nabbing pole over Alonso by just 0.049 seconds.
After securing pole position, all Batelco Racing had to do to secure the Pro championship was to stay ahead of arch rivals, CG Racing Pro, who qualified in sixth position, but after one hour of racing disaster struck.
The crew of Batelco Racing is normally a well-drilled unit, but two rare pit lane infringements sent the team tumbling down the grid order all of the way back into 22nd place
Despite the horrible setback, the team remained focused. Ali Abbas of Batelco Racing said, “We always have trust in our team and we always change our strategy according to the situation.”
The squad from Bahrain altered its tactics and slowly clawed its way up the grid throughout the night. By morning the drivers had put themselves back into championship contention.
Meanwhile, CG Racing PRO, with drivers David Terrien, Rami Azzam, Alban Varutti and Piers Pakenham-Walsh, had also moved up the field, taking the lead. By the end of the race, the Choueiri Group team made it look easy, taking the chequered flag a full lap ahead of its Batelco rivals. Karting Agadir was next in line to claim third.
Batelco Racing celebrated a historic fifth Pro title while CG Racing PRO won on the day but had to settle for second place in the championship. Bin Drai Karting Team finished seventh in the race, enough to claim third place in the 2017 Pro Championship.
ZOOM Racing Team crossed the finish line in fourth, earning the team a first place trophy in the Nations Cup category, for drivers of the same nationality. The class win, by drivers H. Bisht, Mohammed Hafiz, Arjun Manjunath and Anjum Shaikh, also secured the 2017 Nations Cup for the Indian squad.
Lukoil Racing Team of Russia finished sixth overall and claimed second place in the 2017 Nations Cup championship. The Lebanese squad of CG Racing 1 finished fifteenth in the race, which was enough to grab third place in the championship.
Team Emirates wrapped up another Corporate title by taking a class win and finishing twelfth overall. CG Racing 1 earned another trophy by taking second place in the 2017 Corporate championship, while Redline Racing 1 took third place in the championship with a P20 finish in the race.
Race Director David Bright reflected, “The lap times of the drivers at the top of the grid and at the bottom were closer than it has ever been in the Endurance Championship. This demonstrates the quality of drivers in the field and the excellent kart rotation system we employ to level the playing field.”
“With this system, the best drivers and best teams always manage to shine. Well done to CG Racing Pro for winning round four and congratulations to Batelco Racing for winning the Pro title a record five times.”
Article: Aaron Meriwether
Photos: Darren Rycroft