The 11th and 12th rounds of the Al Ain Raceway Kart Club Championship took the format of a double header weekend at Karting HQ: Al Ain Raceway itself. If memory serves, Friday’s meeting was run on the 900 metre National circuit, and Saturday’s swansong on the 1400 metre Grand Finals track. Across both days there was all manner of drama, as you would usually expect. Friday's weather was fairly normal but Saturdays was a mix-match of sun, grey skies and even rain. For a season ender it had all the ingredients of a classic…and so it proved to be. To add an extra dimension to the weekend it wasn’t only the drivers and their MADCAM PRO HD cameras that were filming the action. The Clerk of the Course (me) was sampling the MADCAM EYEZONE glasses. This meant that the decision maker had some back up. They worked really well and thankfully weren’t needed for any Stewards enquiries. And to the racing…
FRIDAY – MINI MAX – ALAIN TRIUMPHS AFTER RIVALS CLASH
The Mini Max was as close as ever on Friday with around a second separating all drivers on best lap classification. Alain Bauwmans had trouble on the first lap which meant that a 2 horse race between Tehmur Chohan and Zachary Robertson immediately stole the limelight. Tehmur led Zachary and the two were inseparable until the beginning of lap 10 when disaster struck. The two collided on the exit of turn 1 and with their wheels locked, went straight on at turn 2, sliding off into the sand trap. Tehmur was able to crawl back onto the circuit and do enough to finish fourth, but Zachary was out. Both drivers shook hands in Parc Fermé at the end as they both agreed that it was a racing incident, admirable sportsmanship from the youngsters. Meanwhile, out on track Alain inherited the lead and held on for the final 3 laps to take a well deserved win that kept his title hopes alive. Ivan Berets was having a strong day keeping Alain in his sights. In the final stages he made a push but crossed the line 2nd, 2.8 seconds back. It was a great result also for Finn Healy who finished in 3rd. After a small wobble in the early stages he didn’t let the gap increase and slotted home in 3rd place, taking home a well-deserved trophy. Spare a thought for Taymour Kermanshahchi as he had to retire from the meeting with axle problems. The result meant that the title would go down to the wire on Saturday.
Result: 1st Alain Bauwmans 2nd Ivan Berets 3rd Finn Healy
Fastest lap: 38.536 by Tehmur Chohan
SATURDAY – MINI MAX – ZACHARY WINS RACE BUT TEHMUR IS CHAMPION
The final race of the season was close on points between Tehmur, Zachary and Alain, which meant that there was plenty to play for. At the off Zachary pulled into an instant lead with Tehmur hot on his tail. Taymour’s Chief Mechanic – Paul Granger - had been up all night fitting axles so Taymour himself could have influence on the outcome. He was running in third ahead of Alain, Ivan and Finn. The pack was running close throughout with an obvious winner difficult to pick out. Zachary continued his lead from Tehmur as Taymour joined the front battle. By lap 6 Taymour had caught Tehmur and the pair ran nose to tail. On lap 8 along the back straight Taymour finally made his move and passed Tehmur for second. The number 99 driver refused to let go and slotted directly behind Taymour. They would go on to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively, parted by only 6 tenths of a second. Alain meanwhile continued to keep them in sight but crossed the line fourth only a further second back. Ivan and Finn were 5th and 6th but were closer than ever before. But on the day it was Zachary who took the flag with a fantastic win and one that has set up an excellent championship scrap for next year. The final result meant that Tehmur is the AARKC’s first ever Mini MAX champion on 353 points from Alain Bauwmans on 350. Talk about close. Zachary Robertson was classified in third place with 345 points…
Result: 1st Zachary Robertson 2nd Taymour Kermanshahchi 3rd Tehmur Chohan
Fastest lap: 1:02.373 by Zachary Robertson
FRIDAY – JUNIOR MAX – ABDULLAH CLOSES IN ON TITLE
On Friday the Junior MAX class was as inseparable as ever. At the off Abdullah Al Rawahi converted his Pole Position into an instant lead. By far the most consistent driver he set lap times ranging between 36.5 and 36.7 to hold off the MSport drivers: Pasqual Pook and Cyrus Engineer. Abdullah was under huge pressure but kept his cool to win by a slim margin of 3.5 seconds. For the first 5 laps Cyrus was hot on his tail but his challenge began to fade as Abdullah pulled out a small gap. Pasqual closed on Cyrus as the race went on and managed to advance into 2nd with a well-timed manoeuvre but the gap to Abdullah was a step too far and he crossed the line 2nd with Cyrus completing the podium. Watching all the action unfold from 4th was Patrick Hannah who started to fall back in the dying laps after his tyres appeared to have gone off. Giulio Peroni kept up his improved form to finish 5th ahead of Sebastian Seeling in 6th.
SATURDAY – JUNIOR MAX – ABDULLAH CHAMPION AGAIN
Saturday's race on the Grand Finals circuit was always going to be close. It was a confirming point about how close the drivers and karts have been this year. Abdullah typically started from Pole Position and was good enough to hold on to his lead until the 2nd lap when Pasqual made a move on the back straight to cleanly take the lead which he held until lap 4 when Abdullah pinched it back. Cyrus meanwhile was coming through the field and by lap 8 had made 2 stunning moves to take the lead of the race. Abdullah rode his tail whilst holding off another charge from Pasqual. Patrick was also getting in on the action as he briefly ran in third place, only to lose it to Pasqual again on lap 11. Cyrus held his nerve and ended his season on a high by taking a win only 3 tenths ahead of Abdullah, who in turn was only 3 tenths ahead of Pasqual. Patrick was a further half second behind that. Giulio and Sebastian were again 5th and 6th. Despite Cyrus’s fantastic win it wasn’t enough to stop Abdullah taking the second Junior MAX title for the Oman Karting Team in 2 seasons. It was fully deserved and his finally tally after dropped scores was 1001 to Cyrus’s 930. Pasqual was third in the campaign on 861.
Result: 1st Cyrus Engineer 2nd Abdullah Al Rawahi 3rd Pasqual Pook
Fastest lap: 58.515 by Cyrus Engineer
FRIDAY – SENIOR MAX – SANAD AGAIN…
Senior MAX has been dominated this year by one man alone: Sanad Al Rawahi. It was therefore no surprise that the Oman Karting Team driver was to feature heavily again. From first on the grid he romped away untroubled to take victory by a handsome 6.7 seconds but the real action was going on behind him with Nikita Miliakov and Philippe Valenza engaged in a terrific scrap. At the outset Nikita was running comfortably in 2nd with a few seconds in hand over Philippe. But in the latter stages he started to lose a fraction of pace. Philippe noticed this and started to reel him in. For the last 3 laps it was intense as Nikita drove cleanly and defensively to hold onto his position. Philippe could only do so much but ran out of laps and the pair were parted by only 3 tenths across the line. Hussain Umid Ali was having a sensational day in MAX, but his charge faded towards the end and crossed the line 4th. Alex Coward came home in 5th ahead of Raffaele De Lorenzi in 6th. It should be noted for the record that Raffaele was nursing a high fever all day and did a tremendous job to compete as well as he did, a true fighting spirit.
Result: 1st Sanad Al Rawahi 2nd Nikita Miliakov 3rd Philippe Valenza
Fastest lap: 36.265 by Sanad Al Rawahi
SATURDAY – SENIOR MAX – SANAD A CHAMPION AT LAST
Sanad Al Rawahi has long been a force in the AARKC Championship but it wasn’t until today, the end of his third season that he was officially declared a Champion. All he had to do was not get disqualified to claim his crown, and sure enough he did what was needed of him. From the lights he defended his lead from a train of karts including Hussain Umid Ali, Philippe Valenza, Nikita Miliakov and Ali Al Najjar. Sanad eventually broke free of the pack and with a small comfort gap set about controlling the race to the flag. It was a momentous win. However all eyes were on the supreme fight for second place. Hussain was leading the field in second place as Philippe, Nikita and Ali all followed each other. There were several moments where it looked like it was all going to end in tears but sure enough the senior drivers didn’t fail to impress. Nikita had some chances to pass Philippe but the latter had his ground covered. Ali was on fire and he too had several opportunities to make ground but, at the flag, it was Hussain who held on to the silver spot ahead of the young Formula K driver and the UAE’s latest Formula BMW convert. Ali was 5th but it could have quite as easily have been 2nd. Alex Coward has made massive strides this year and despite only finishing in 6th place has found himself within striking distance of the lead pack. Raffaele pulled in early on as he was still feeling unwell. So Sanad Al Rawahi is a Rotax Champion at last, with 1060 points. Before dropped points he had only dropped 11 points from making it a perfect season. Nikita Miliakov has announced his presence with runners up spot on 888 points ahead of Raffaele De Lorenzi who takes third in the standings on 732.
Result: 1st Sanad Al Rawahi 2nd Hussain Umid Ali 3rd Philippe Valenza
Fastest lap: 58.737 by Sanad Al Rawahi
FRIDAY – MAX MASTER – SQUEAKY BUM TIME
Of all the classes this year, MAX Master has been one of the most intense. All year long it has been Andrew Fuller, Walid Al Qassemi and Luc Bauwmans in the frame for the title, but wins from Raed Hassan and, of course, the memorable victory for Jonathan Mowatt has added extra spice. The title was certain to go down to the wire. Friday's form drive was in actual fact Jonathan Mowatt who, after a recent turn of fortune, found himself with a mathematical chance of third in the title race. From the front of the gird he led from Duncan Foster and Luc Bauwmans. The train of karts snaked around the short circuit configuration. Duncan was hungry for a win and as each lap passed by he was looking down the inside of Jonathan into turn 1. It is a difficult corner at the best of times and Duncan attempted a long-shot move on lap 7. It didn’t work and Jonathan went spinning off as a result of the contact. Luc had nowhere to go and t-boned the side of Jonathan, ruining both of their races, while Duncan was handed a penalty which he timidly accepted. It meant that title race leader Andrew Fuller led briefly but would soon be passed by Walid Al Qassemi who started at the back! Walid held on confidently to tale the win from Andrew, who was visibly relieved to have avoided the earlier drama. Kevin Day was classified 3rd after Duncan’s penalty, with Jonathan in 4th. Bruno De Champris was 5th overall and Luc Bauwmans 6th.
Result: 1st Walid Al Qassemi 2nd Andrew Fuller 3rd Kevin Day
Fastest lap: 36.990 by Walid Al Qassemi
SATURDAY – MAX MASTER – DOWN TO THE WIRE
As far as vintage seasons go, this year's Masters was up there. Andrew was leading the points ahead of Luc, who was only just ahead of Walid. It was ferociously tense. The Grand Finals circuit has plenty of overtaking opportunities, and that was going to be needed. At the start there was drama. From my angle there were plumes of tyre smoke coming out of the back of Luc’s kart. He was on the brakes but couldn’t slow down enough as he hit Andrew and the two went spinning off, a disaster for both of them. This allowed Jonathan to take the lead from Walid. Kevin was running third ahead of Bruno. Walid closed in on the back of Jonathan and on lap 3 made his move and seized 1st place. Jonathan didn’t give up and he shadowed the new leader for a little while longer… Meanwhile Andrew had his foot welded to the floor and was running in 5th place. Lap after lap he went quicker and quicker and on lap 9 finally made it past an on-form Bruno. There was no time to waste and, a lap later, he got by Kevin also to run in 3rd. Luc meanwhile was not having as much luck-with his kart potentially damaged he continued to tour around in 6th. So Walid was cruising but there was to be another twist… with only a handful of laps to go, he began to suffer with extremely slow exist speed from left hand corners. This allowed Jonathan to catch right up with him but Walid had built just enough of a gap to edge out Jonathan for the win by less than half a second. As good a win as it was, the crowds attention was focussed on Andrew as he crossed the line 3rd. With his fist way up in the air he was to be crowned the new Masters Champion on 924 points. Walid's '2 wins in 2 days' stunt did him the world of good and he ended up leap-frogging Luc for 2nd scoring 890 points to Luc’s 867. Well done to all of them.
Result: 1st Walid Al Qassemi 2nd Jonathan Mowatt 3rd Andrew Fuller
Fastest lap: 59.706 by Walid Al Qassemi
FRIDAY – DD2 – MOHAMMED MAKES HIS MOVE
Like all the classes, the DD2 class has had its best year to date. Never before has the UAE had so many talented and quick drivers all in one class. There was drama on the opening lap as Fabienne Lanz was faced with a sticking throttle. All she could do was quickly shut the engine off to prevent her from having a nasty accident. However this action caused a nasty accident for many of the others as Mohammed Al Dhaheri, Patrick Jarjour and Maurits Knopjes all got tangled. The incident ended the race for both Fabienne and Patrick. Sanad Al Rawahi was sampling DD2 for the first time and made a tremendous impression by pinching the lead as a result of the collision. Sanad was lit, but all the while Mohammed Al Dhaheri was making ground catching him up. On lap 14 he made his move going into the first corner and from thereon in he cruised to the line to take a convincing win from Sanad. Hasher Al Maktoum was also having a great day and after an early battle with teammate Oli George slotted home in third place, Oli was fourth. Arnaud Bouf drove strongly to come home 5th ahead of Maurits, who as he crossed the line confirmed himself mathematically as the 2011/12 DD2 Champion. The result meant that 2nd to 5th places in the series were separated by a handful of points…
Result: 1st Mohammed Al Dhaheri 2nd Sanad Al Rawahi 3rd Hasher Al Maktoum
Fastest lap: 35.395 by Mohammed Al Dhaheri NEW LAP RECORD
SATURDAY - DD2 – OLI PINCHES RUNNER UP SPOT IN THRILLER
With lots still to play for the DD2 final was always going to be intense. After 2 aborted starts including a nasty, but thankfully harmless, flip caused by failure to observe a false start, the race got underway. Mohammed Al Zaabi and Arnaud Bouf were both eliminated in the pre-race incident and would take no further part. Huge misfortune for Arnaud who was one of the drivers fighting closely for 2nd place in the championship. On the opening lap Fabienne and Mohammed were side by side going into the final complex, and after a touch of side pod rubbing Mohammed’s engine shut off and he was side-lined. His only hope of taking second in the championship was that Oli finished 2nd or lower. Fabienne then set about consolidating her lead and after some blistering laps seemed to have everything under control. Oli though was on a mission. He had dispensed with Patrick and Hasher and was on a charge to take the lead. Lap after lap he closed in on Fabienne and on lap 10 made a late dive stick to take the lead. Fabienne fought back and was forever looking for a way back through but it wasn’t to be as Oli crossed the line victorious (you could hear the roars from the other end of the track) only 0.19 seconds ahead of Fabienne. Hasher meanwhile crossed the line 3rd a further second back. Patrick wasn’t happy with his own performance on Saturday but 4th place was a decent result. Hussain Umid Ali came home 5th just ahead of Sanad Al Rawahi. So it was all chop and change in the final point's standings as Maurits was recorded Champion with 967 points. Oliver George was 2nd in the series with 850, and Mohammed Al Dhaheri only 1 agonising point behind in 3rd on 849.
Result: 1st Oliver George 2nd Fabienne Lanz 3rd Hasher Al Maktoum
Fastest lap: 57.059 by Hasher Al Maktoum