UAE National Racing at Dubai Autodrome, GTs, Superbikes, Sportscars and Touring cars
Dubai Feb 25th 2011: All the main UAE national racing classes were on the bill on today’s bill at Dubai Autodrome, including: Cytech UAE GT Championship, Total UAE Touring Cars, UAE Sportscars and UAE Sportbikes. The 4.29km International track was used on the day and produced some high calibre racing.
Cytech UAE GT: House of Portier Corvettes double win again
Fresh from a double win at Yas Marina two weeks ago, the House of Portier Corvette team took another emphatic double win at Dubai Autodrome in round six of the Cytech UAE GT Championship. Karim Al Azhari and Fabien Giroix triumphed in the GTA Class after they overcame an early challenge from the MSW Ginetta of Bassam Kronfli and Raed Hassan.
Kronfli led off the line and at one stage was building a healthy gap on the Corvette with Al Azhari in the cockpit, but the brakes “cooked” on the yellow and green car and their hopes went up in smoke.
It was the fourth victory of the season for the TAM Auto Engineering run team and boosts Al Azhari’s championship lead with two rounds left to go in the championship.
Emirati teenager Mohammed Al Mutawaa and Jiri Skula made it a double for the House of Portier team when they powered to their fourth victory in the GTB Class ahead of the MSW Porsche of Jon Simmonds and Phil Quaife.
House of Portier boss Glenn Portier said afterwards, “It was great to see our cars cross the line and score a one two. Due to personal reasons I have been away from the scene for the past month and it is very good to be back and get into the swing of it by winning. Again our drivers did a good job and of course TAM Auto Engineering must be congratulated for preparing our Corvettes. For us we stick to the job at hand and our goal is always to win. We achieved that today.”
In the highly competitive class the ARM Porsche pairing of Paul Denby and Harris Irfan came good to take the chequered flag for the first time since November and setting their GTC Class title ambitions back on track after pace setter and points leader Richard Cregan failed to finish in the Maserati due to a brake issue.
Joe Ghanem made up for disappointment at Yas Marina by taking second place in his Ginetta, while Yas Marina class winner Saad Salman suffered a big shunt at turn 16 which provoked a code 60 safety flag situation while his substantially damaged KTM X-Bow was recovered. Salman was not injured.
Third place went to David Field in the Maserati making it three different manufacturers on the podium.
Clearly content, Irfan spoke after sharing the win with Denby, “Winning today, was more than anything, a big relief for us and hopefully it is the start of a run where we can challenge Robert Cregan for the GTC title. He had problems today but before that we had a good battle for the lead where he showed great maturity and pace. We have had our share of misfortune this season, today he had the bad luck and things worked out well for us. I think this marks the point where the championship battle gets serious.”
Total UAE Touring Cars: Double wins for Moutran, Johnson and Dias
Ramzi Moutran broke Khalid Bin Hadher stranglehold on Class 1 of the Total UAE Touring Car Championship when he took a double win on the day. Bin Hadher led the first half of the second race but at the flag it was Moutran who took the spoils from Bin Hadher in notching up two second places in the two races and Nader Zuhour scoring a double third place. The trio were driving SEATs.
Moutran said afterwards, “It has really been tough to win here in the UAE, but NFS prepared a strong car for me and I am happy to be able to deliver a double win here.”
Regular British Touring Car Championship campaigner Martin Johnson was racing for the first time at Dubai Autodrome, in a Vauxhall run by the newly formed Phoenix Racing team, and took two emphatic Class 2 wins in his debut at the circuit.
Behind the Briton were a trio of Honda’s slugging it out for second place. Highlight of the day’s racing must go to the battle between Umair Khan, Rupesh Channake and Spencer Vanderpal in race one. The trio slugged it out until the very last corner of the last lap with Khan snatching the runner-up spot ahead of Vanderpal with Channake just missing the podium.
In race two Johnson was again too good on his way to victory with Channake making up for disappointment in the first race to take second place and championship points leader Khan in third.
Double winner Johnson said after the podium ceremony, “It was great to win here on my first visit to Dubai. I really enjoy this circuit it is very challenging with some technical sections that make it a pleasure to drive. It rewards drivers who don’t make mistakes.
Mario Dias scored a double win in Class 3 and Klaus Kresnick was best of the Suzuki Swift quartet who raced in Class 3.
UAE Sportbikes: Binladen and Burnside take two victories each
The man to beat in the UAE Sportbike class this season has been Abdulaziz Binladen on the BMW S1000RR and this round he faced a challenge from British superbike ace Scott Smart on a Kawasaki. The two were the pick of the big banger class but Binladen got the better of Smart in both classes, albeit by the narrowest of margins. Third place in both races went to Ahmed Al Lanjawi on a Suzuki.
It was a case of déjà vu (or Groundhog Day) in the 600 Class as Jason Burnside took two wins on the Mapei Honda and in both races the Yas Marina Triumph pair of Mahmoud Tannir and Alan Boyter were second and third respectively.
UAE Sportscars: Cima and Unzurrungaza share the spoils
A small field, without pace setting championship leader Jordan Grogor, lined up for the two UAE Sportscar races on the day. Luca Cima took top honours in race one with Juma Al Dhaheri taking second and Rafael Unzurrungaza in third. Unzurrungaza bounced back to win the shortened second race with Al Dhaheri second again and Cima coming home third.
The next UAE national race day at Dubai Autodrome takes place on 11 March 2011.
Images and report supplied by Dubai Autodrome.