Archive for the ‘Racing’ Category

UAE Karting Championship

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Round 1, Kartdrome at Dubai Autodrome

The first round of the UAE Karting Championship, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Marwan Bin Rashid Al Mualla took place under floodlights at the Kartdrome at Dubai Autodrome on Friday night. The feature race of the event was the combined TAG class which boasted a large and competitive field. Surprise inclusion on the grid was former UAE Karting Champion Roy van der Weyden making another return to the top tier of UAE karting and by the end of the night, where he had to count on all his experience and a little luck, it was he who took top honours in the TAG final

Reigning champion (who ironically has yet to win a national race) Tim Murdoch made clear his intentions from the outset of qualifying where he claimed pole position by half a second from Rami Azzam with Fadi El Aswad in third spot. Weyden was late out on track and only managed the fifth fastest time. Pre-race favourite Shaikh Hasher Maktoum did not manage a single lap in qualifying due to a broken accelerator cable which rendered him to the tail end of the grid and meant a night of hard work to get back to the sharp end of the field.

At the front it stayed much the same throughout the two heats with Murdoch simply out pacing everyone, notching two heat wins and pole position for the final. Hasher Maktoum and Weyden improved their positions and would line-up second and third respectively. Azzam, who was mixing it at the front of the field, fell out of contention when his race seat broke, despite it being welded for the final the repair did not last ending his ambitions of a podium.

When the flag dropped for the final Murdoch was again the pace setter and within a few laps had a cushion over his closest rivals who were battling it out together, albeit a couple of seconds behind the leader. Weyden, Hasher Maktoum, Adam Reeve and Howard Cracknell were slinging it out in a no holds barred contest. A spectator summed it up when he commented, “Looks like a war out there. Plenty pushing and shoving.� Thus is the nature of karting: wheel to wheel racing, tremendous skill and calling on the canniest ability of drivers. All this compounded by the added challenge of night racing.

By the half way stage the order seemed set with Murdoch leading comfortably from Weyden, Hasher Maktoum, Reeve and Cracknell. With two laps to go Murdoch was out – that first win eluding him yet again in the cruelest of circumstances – a broken chain. The mishap gifted Weyden the lead where he stayed to claim victory over Hasher Maktoum in second and Reeve claiming the final podium spot.

The TAG Heavy class, which ran in conjunction with the Light class, was won by ever popular John Mace who despite being the oldest driver in the field, “Sixty somethingâ€? he once revealed – a fact that hardly deterred him on his way to victory over Fadi El Aswad. The latter showed impressive pace by leading the entire TAG field (in a heavier kart) and mixing it with the TAG Light pace setters. He felt he was victim of some over enthusiastic opponents who caused him to go off track in the decisive second heat which rendered him to the back end of the start grid for the final. He comments, “After making my way through the back of the pack in the final I set my sights on John (Mace) but he was too far ahead.â€? Ian Prestwich finished third.

The Max Junior class featured an unexpectedly small field. Neverthless this did not deter Joe Morritt who stamped his authority on proceedings by pipping Robert Chandler to pole then going on to white wash his opponents with a hat trick of wins on the night – both heats and the final. Elliot Patrick took second in the finale after a race long duel with Grace Brownlee who finished third.

The Cadet class promises to be a season long battle between three youngsters all capable of taking top honours on their day. Riccardo Curatola, Tom Bale and Patrick Schoeller set the pace throughout the evening. Bale winning heat one, Curtatola retaliating to take heat two and debutant Schoeller doing the business in the final after a race long duel between the trio. Curatola led for most of the race with Bale snapping at his heals and Schoeller playing the watch and wait game. On the final lap, the inevitable occurred, Bale and Curatola touched and spun giving the Schoeller the opportunity he needed to steal the lead and take the chequered flag. Curatola salvaged second place with Bale taking third.

The UAE Karting Championship is sanctioned by the ATCUAE and under the auspices of EMSF.

Round 1 UAE Karting Championship Results

TAG Class (Combined)
1. Roy van der Weyden
2. Hasher Maktoum
3. Adam Reeve
4. Howard Cracknell
5. Maurits Knopjes
6. Saeed Al Shamsi
7. John Mace (H)
8. Fadi El Aswad (H)
9. Ian Prestwich (H)
10. Hannes Waimer (H)
H denotes (TAG Heavy Class)

Junior Max Class
1. Joe Morritt
2. Elliott Patrick
3. Grace Brownlee

Cadet Class
1. Patrick Schoeller
2. Riccardo Curatola
3. Tom Bale

UAE National Karting Championship

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Round 1, Kartdrome at Dubai Autodrome

Night race kickstarts the new season

This weekend signals the start of the UAE National Karting Championship with a night race at the Dubai Autodrome Kartdrome. At time of writing there are four confirmed and well supported classes including the TAG Light and Heavy Classes, Rotax Juniors and the Cadets. Practice sessions will start mid-afternoon with the fi rst heat starting in the early evening. The format of the evening will be each class will have two heats to determine the fi nal grid positions for the final race.

The TAG Classes (Light and Heavy) will headline the bill with some of the country’s leading karters doing battle in a variety of chassis including CRG, Swiss Hutless, Trulli and Tony Kart. Engines will be open to IAME, Rotax and Vampire units while Bridgestone tyres will be mandatory.

Predicting a winner in the opening round of the TAG Light series would be virtually impossible with at least a half dozen candidates capable of claiming the top step of the podium. Hasher Maktoum probably edges out his opponents as favourite by the tiniest of margins. Young Ramez Azzam, who has been gaining valuable experience in the Formula Renault Campus French Championship, will be one to watch as last year he was one of the few who could match Maktoum for sheer ace. His brother Rami Azzam is also capable of causing an upset.

Reigning champion Tim Murdoch who took the title despite not scoring a single win will be going all out to notch up his maiden victory in the series. Former GTI Cup competitor and race winner Adam Reeve, who is among the quickest drivers on the Kartdrome layout, is also likely to feature at the fore. Emirati Mohammed Al Awadi entered the series last season and very quickly established himself as the most improved driver in the series. Committed and with strong backing the youngster is being tipped as the surprise package of the new season. Other drivers who could cause an upset in proceedings are the likes of Tom Fisher and Scott Latham.

The Tag Heavy class is wide open with defending champion Michael Bale hanging up his helmet, “To concentrate on developing the real racing talent in the family, my son Tom in the Cadets class.� In his absence the men to beat should be Fadi Al Aswad and Karim Saad with Ian Prestwich on the fringes of this battle. Newcomers to the class and unknown factors include Stuart Duthie and sixty-something stalwart John Mace.

Both the TAG Heavy and Light classes will run together ensuring a big fi eld and action
packed heats and final.

The Rotax Junior class is likely to produce some of the closest and fi erce racing on the night. Youngsters promoted from the Cadet Class will take on the established competitors in what will be a no holds barred affair. Reigning Junior Champion Asad Rahman will be hard pressed by Edward Jones and Elliot Patrick. Reigning Cadet Champion Patrick will renew his battles with foe Jones. Gracie Brownley who will be all out to get one up on her male opponents. Another driver to watch is young Joe Boyd-Marritt who also moves up from the Cadet Class.

The Cadet Class is always hard to predict as talented newcomers start off the season and can often upset the form book despite their lack of experience in racing. Unpredictability is the nature of the series which this year should boast a bumper 10 to 12 entires which is likely to grow as the season progresses.

On paper the top contenders should be young Tom Bale (who will be shortest driver to climb into a kart on the night) and Riccardo Curatola both youngsters have developed into top contenders in the class. Talk of the pre-season has been the exceptional talent of young rookie Patrick Schoeller who will be making his debut and by all accounts is capable of battling for top honours from the outset. He is joined on the grid by Phillip and a half dozen or so young hopefuls making their karting debut at national level.

Press & Media Office
PO Box 24649, Dubai, U.A.E.
Tel: 04 367 8700 ext 330
Fax: 04 367 8750
Contact: Paul Velasco
Mobile: 050 855 7532