Al Ain – Thursday 2nd June 2011; Al Ain Raceway hosted the awards presentation for the AARKC RMC class winners at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dubai. After a grueling 12 round campaign, the Trophy winners finally got to take their silverware home. Upon receiving the trophies the class Champions made a few comments:
Cadet 1st Tom Bale 2nd Pasqual Pook 3rd Taymour Kermanshahchi
Junior MAX 1st Abdullah Al Rawahi 2nd Piers Pakenham-Walsh 3rd Ameer Hassan
Senior MAX 1st Maurits Knopjes 2nd Sanad Al Rawahi 3rd Nikolaus Dedic
MAX Master 1st Arnoud Bouf 2nd Luc Bauwmans 3rd Andrew Fuller
DD2 1st Mohammed Al Dhaheri 2nd Patrick Jarjour 3rd Sheikh Khalid Al Nahyan
Honda 1st Atef Al Barwani 2nd Hussein Umid Ali 3rd Paul Healy
Marty Fullard: Abdullah Al Rawahi, Junior MAX Champion. This is your first Championship title; tell us how you’re feeling.
Abdullah Al Rawahi: I feel very happy that I’ve finished first. I have worked very hard for this and I would like to thank my Father who has supported us.
MF: DD2 Champion Mohammed Al Dhaheri, this is your second consecutive title. The first one must have been great, but how do feel now after scoring a second?
Mohammed Al Dhaheri: I feel more happy. I had to work really hard to get this one. I never stopped training and I pushed myself very far and hamdullah I managed it!
MF: Maurits, Senior MAX Champion, another Championship, 4 in a row I believe, does it get boring or does it get better each time?
Maurits Knopjes: Well to be honest at the half way point of the season I was thinking about when to stop, but after some good thoughts I said to myself “no this is way too much fun”, I’ll never stop! (Laughs)
MF: Arnoud of the MAX Masters, another Championship for you also, you’re no stranger to winning at the top, how do you feel about this season?
Arnoud Bouf: Well I find the very nice organisation of Al Ain Raceway who have managed everything. I changed classes after 3 rounds into the season, into MAX master it was a very competitive grid with more than 20 pilots, so next year I hope maybe there will be more than 30 pilots, and I’m looking forward to winning again next year! (Laughs)
MF: Atef, Rental class Champion. Dominant this year, even when I took part in one race you managed to hit me off, that aside, describe your campaign.
Atef Al Barwani: It was brilliant, I mean the whole season was really challenging for me, especially with Hussein running and chasing me the whole season, it was fantastic, especially with the new challengers, with the reverse grids, it was brilliant, it was one of my best seasons so far and I hope for more of the same next year.
After the Champions had retaken their seats, Al Ain Raceway General Manager Guy Sheffield took the stage for a surprise announcement, the naming of the drivers who would be representing the UAE in the Rotax MAX World Finals, which this year will be hosted in Al Ain for the second time. After handing out the certificates, this is what the drivers had to say.
Representing drivers: Sanad Al Rawahi, Abdulla Al Rawahi, Maurits Knopjes, Arnoud Bouf, Mohammed Al Dhaheri, Patrick Jarjour.
MF: So, Sanad, you didn’t know this was coming did you? How do you feel?
Sanad Al Rawahi: I feel really good, it will be my first time in the Grand Finals. I really appreciate the nomination, and I hope that I will do well in the Grand Finals.
MF: Abdullah, how do you think you’ll get on at the World Finals?
Abdullah Al Rawahi: I’m looking forward to it so much. I will be training hard over the summer in Europe and I will try my best to finish in the top 20. Maybe I can reach the podium we will see.
MF: Maurits, you’re no stranger to the World Finals, last time out in La Conca, Italy it didn’t quite go according to plan, hopefully this year with a bit of local knowledge you’re going to be in a slightly better position, what are your genuine hopes for the event?
Maurits Knopjes: Well the hopes for if you to an event like that, the goal is clear, my hopes is that you let me driver the DD2 Master, that hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the goal is clear I want to be on the middle step of the podium. I have been on third one, I know how that feels, it doesn’t feel nice, you want to be in the middle, not second. You’re going into the event to win it.
MF: Mohammed, this will be your second World Championship event in a row, last year in Italy like Maurits it didn’t go according to plan, but this time, not only are you in your home country, but your home town as well, how does that feel?
Mohammed Al Dhaheri: It’s amazing. I’m really looking forward to do my best and I’m going to work as hard as I can to ensure I will be up front there. It’s my turf, it’s my country, my city, and my birthday! I will give my all and I want to make sure I will make my country proud.
MF: Arnoud, also second World Championships in a row for you, you must be looking forward to it, you don’t have to worry about flights this time, how do you feel?
Arnoud Bouf: Actually I am very surprised. I was not sure I would be confirmed for this year, so thank you for pushing for more driver spaces! I will work very hard to bring the UAE flag to the top.
MF: Finally, Patrick Jarjour, you didn’t see that one coming did you? Feelings?
Patrick Jarjour: I thought maybe I would be like the first reserve, I didn’t know it was going to be announced tonight. It feels good, I think we have a lot of work to do with these guys [Al Ain Raceway Race Team]. But I think technically to be honest, I am the weakest in this small group, so we’re going to work hard with those guys, with Mohammed and we will try to make the best out of it, and thank you guys [Al Ain Raceway] for everything you have done for me.
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