Dubai, UAE, 6 March 2018: Maz Nawaz bounced back after a disappointing third-place in the previous round to seize a Sodi World Series (SWS) Senior Cup victory on Monday night (5 March) at Dubai Kartdrome. Carsten Winter took top honours in the Masters category and Federico Al Rifai recovered from a poor qualifying session to storm back and win the SWS Junior Cup round.
SWS Senior Cup & Masters Category
The Senior competition got a boast on Monday night at the announcement that the SWS Senior entry list was now expanded to allow 34 drivers, the largest kart grid of any Middle East series currently running.
Anjum Shaikh looked to continue his winning streak from last month and started the contest well by topping the qualifying screens with a best lap time of 1:11.184 to take pole position over Romaldo Labrooy.
Labrooy struck back in Race One, passing Shaikh and taking the win, with Maz Nawaz also sneaking by to grab second place. Shaikh had to settle for third.
In the Race Two the fight for the lead came down to Nawaz and Ahmed Al Hammadi. Nawaz held on to the lead despite repeated challenges from Al Hammadi. Shaikh was also in the hunt, waiting to pounce on the two battling drivers. That chance never came; Nawaz maintained his cool and brought his kart home for victory, crossing the line just 0.586 seconds ahead of Al Hammadi.
After points from the two heats were calculated, Maz Nawaz was awarded the win with 76 points total. Romaldo Labrooy claimed second-place on 71 points and Ahmed Al Hammadi secured third-place with 67 points.
In the Masters division, Carsten Winter made it look easy after two class wins in a row on his way to 49 points total. Elie Chaib took home second-place silverware on 42 points and Greg Watt rounded out the Masters podium with 34 points for third-place.
SWS Junior Cup
Federico Al Rifai struggled in qualifying but, when it mattered most, he found the race pace to get the job done and take home the Junior Cup winner’s trophy.
Patrick Debattista led the pack in qualifying, jumping to the top of the timing screens with an incredible best lap time of 1:17.677, almost two seconds per lap faster than the rest of the field. Al Rifai was way off the pace early on, putting up a best lap time of 1:22.499, which was only good enough for P13.
In Race One Debattista lost his pole position advantage to newcomer Khalifa Al Qubaisi. It was a close battle with Al Qubaisi crossing the finish line first, just 0.487 seconds in front of Debattista. After starting so low in the grid order Al Rifai managed to put in a heroic drive, working up the field to finish fourth.
In Race Two Federico was even better. He wrestled with Oscar Lambert for the lead and held on for the win, taking the chequered flag 0.645 seconds ahead of Lambert.
When the final points of the two heats were tallied, Federico Al Rifai stood on the top step of the podium with 71 points total. Khalifa Al Qubaisi made an impressive first outing by taking second-place on 65 points. By a mere point he beat out veteran driver Patrick Debattista, who had to settle for third-place with 64 points.
The next SWS Sprint Race Night will take place on Monday, 19 March 2018.
Report & Photos: Aaron Meriwether