UAE National racing: Edward Jones outstanding in his Radical debut while Superbikes pay tribute to Pascal Grosjean
Jan 28th, Dubai Autodrome- It was a relatively relaxed atmosphere that prevailed on the first UAE National Race Day of the new year at Dubai Autodrome today but the on track competition was as fierce as ever.
It was heartache for Dubai schoolboy Edward Jones when he came desperately close to taking victory on his debut race day in the UAE Sportscar Championship. After finishing an impressive third in the first 45 minute mini enduro, the 16 year old led all the way until race two, when on the final lap he spun out of the lead and apparently handed victory to reigning champion Jordan Grogor who shared the drive with Saad Salman.
But Grogor, was to have his own heartache, when he was handed two ten second penalties for overtaking transgressions that relegated him to third and promoted the Bassam Kronfli and Luca Cima pairing to top spot on the podium. Jones recovered to finish second, with Grogor/Salman having to settle for third. The entire field was made up of Radicals.
In race one, earlier in the day, Jordan took command during the first stint but when he handed over to Saad Salman they were deemed to have broken the pitlane speed limit and were penalized with a drive through penalty. The Kronfli/Cima combination, who put pressure on the leaders throughout the race, crossed the line to win the first ever UAE Sportscar enduro race. Grogor/Salman were second, with Jones taking third.
Afterwards Cima was happy with the result but admitted, “I did not know we had won. I saw the guys celebrating when I crossed the line but thought the fuss was for finishing second. So to find out we won when I arrived in the pit lane was a great feeling.”
However, the day will remembered for the impressive debut by Jones who made his mark with a solid showing. The fifteen year old, who grew up racing at the Kartdrome, is one of the most promising youngsters to emerge from the UAE motorsport scene and has won a number of karting championships – and is a name to watch out for in the future.
It was also a pioneering day for the UAE Sportscar Championship as both races, for the first time ever, were 45 minute mini enduro races with mandatory pit stops, with optional driver swaps – a format that was an outright success. Prior to this the UAE Sportscars ran in sprint races lasting not longer than 20 minutes.
UAE Sportbikes: Double wins for Binladin and Burnside
With Arushen Moodley cancelling his appearance in the UAE Sportbikes races, due to a family bereavement, there was little to stop Saudi ace Abdulaziz Binladin on the BMW S1000RR, who was unstoppable in the 1000 Class, scoring a double win on the day. He was followed across the line by Ahmed al Lanjawi was runner-up in both races. Ducati rider Daimen van Blerk was third in the first race with Hendrik Sauerman third in race two after mechanical gremlins took him out of contention in race one.
In the 600 Class Jason Burnside made it two out of two on the Mapei Honda with both Yas Marina Triumph riders Mahmoud Tannir and Alan Boyter, second and third respectively, in both races.
Prior to the start of the first UAE Sportbikes race a minute of silence for Pascal Grosjean who passed away last year. Burnside commented after his double win, “It was emotional on the grid especially when the wind picked up during the minute of silence. It was really good for us to get through this race day.”
Suzuki Swift Cup: Fokos unbeatable on the day
The hotly contested Suzuki Swift Cup races were won by Papangiotis Fokos who got the better of Klaus Kresnik and Balazas Galotti on both occasions.
The next UAE national race day at Dubai Autodrome takes place on 25 February and will feature the full line-up of national racing categories including: Cytech UAE GT, Total UAE Touring Cars, UAE Sportscars and UAE Sportbikes.