Dubai, UAE, 10 December 2016: Saturday track action of the National Race Days Power Weekend opened with cool windy weather. Five races were run throughout the event, including two more rounds of MRF Challenge, one round each of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East and the Formula Gulf Academy and one grand NGK Two Hour Endurance Race.
Joey Mawson got back into form with a stellar qualifying lap and another pole position. However, just as on the first day of racing, Harrison Newey proved to have better race pace, jumping Mawson on the first lap to take the lead and on for the win. Brazilian Felipe Drugovich took advantage of the bickering cars ahead to move up and pinch second place, while Mawson was left with third.
Joey would get his revenge in the next race; the Aussie driver stormed from fourth on the grid to take the chequered flag over Drugovich by 4.685 seconds. Championship challengers Harrison Newey and Mick Schumacher both had to retire because of technical problems. The consistent podium finishes over the weekend boasted Mawson into the championship lead.
Afterwards Mawson commented, “The whole weekend has just been great. The car has been great all weekend and I really enjoy driving here at the Dubai Autodrome.”
Newey was pleased to get at least one win for the day. He said, “I am really happy to win in what was an eventful race. Joey (Mawson) has always been a great competitor so it was good to finish ahead of him. It was a shame with the problem in the second race today.”
Formula Gulf Academy
Australian Jordan Oon picked up where he left off on Friday, grabbing pole position with a best lap time of 2:01.757, 1.035 seconds clear of his nearest rival Omar Gazzaz.
The ensuing race developed into a spirited session between the top three drivers. After the start Alex Karkosik spent several laps chasing down and then overtaking Oon for the lead. Omar Gazzaz was also in the hunt waiting for the leaders to make a mistake.
With five laps to go, Oon nabbed the front-runner position back, while Karkosik dropped to third. Gazzaz took advantage to move into second. Oon held on for the win and Karkosik managed to regain second place on the last lap, leaving Gazzaz to claim third place.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East
Charlie Frijns of Frijns Structural Steel ME had a great Saturday. In Qualifying henabbed pole position by just 0.495 seconds over Ryan Cullen.
It got even better for the Dutchman in the subsequent race, as an impressive start and relentless tempo kept Frijns out in front and across the finish line a full 6.137 seconds ahead of Tom Oliphant, with Ryan Cullen right behind for third.
NGK 2HR Enduro
Want to see a Ferrari 458 GT3 matched up against an Audi R8 LMS Ultra and a Radical SR3? That’s exactly the scenario that played out on Saturday, with the NGK 2HR Enduro assembling a collection of GT and Touring Car class vehicles, along with open cockpit Radicals all in one blockbuster race.
Qualifying belonged to the Dragon Racing team, almost breaking the two minute barrier with a best lap time of 2:00.086. During the race their Ferrari 458 GT3 would be driven by Leon Price, Rob Barff and Jordon Grogor. Second on the grid would go to one of the AUH Motorsports Radicals, to be driven by Ollie Smith and Dragos Dumitrascu.
The Audi R8 LMS LMS Ultra of K & K Duck Racing only qualified fifth, which meant they would have to negotiate three Radicals ahead of them if they had any hope to challenge the Ferrari.
On the opening lap the Dragon Racing Ferrari got away clean and controlled the pack. Behind it the Radicals and the Audi fought it out to determine the best of the rest. In the midst of a scuffle with one of them the R8 LMS Ultra got spun out and it spent the rest of race trying to catch up.
Meanwhile the Ferrari sailed comfortably home for the overall and Class Three win, while the Radicals behind scrapped it out. An AUH Motorsports SR3, driven by Johnny Guindi and Romain Sarazin managed to break free and take second overall while also securing a first place trophy for Class Six. The duo of Dumitrascu and Smith trailed in for third place overall and second in Class Six. Third in class went to another AUH team piloted by Catalin Voicu, Craig Thompson and Dominic Simon.
Class Two also saw plenty of action and it was Ashan Silva and Hamad Al Hammadi driving the Lap 57 Honda DC5 who came out on top and stood on the highest step of the podium. Will Morrison and Julian Griffin nabbed second in Class Two and first in the sub-category Clio Cup. Jason O’Keefe and Spencer Vanderpal captured Class One in a Honda EP3.
The next NRD Power Weekend will be held at Dubai Autodrome on 27-28 January 2017.