BIC: Bahrain Speed Weekend brings wins for Batelco Racing Team, Shaikh Salman and Kellogg
Sakhir Circuit, Dec 3rd 2011 – Batelco Racing Team picked up a brilliant double in the WGA Supercars Middle East Championship while Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa was twice on the podium in the Maserati Trofeo JBF RAK Series as Speed Weekend reached an exciting climax yesterday at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.
Stephen Kellogg, meanwhile, maintained his winning ways in the BIC 2,000cc Challenge by registering another perfect round for the second successive meeting.
All three series capped an action-packed two days at ‘The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East’, as Speed Weekend showcased the very best of regional motor racing.
VARUTTII AND AZZAM TRIUMPH FOR BATELCO IN WGA SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP
Alban Varuttii of France and Batelco teammate Ramez Azzam of Canada shared the honours in round two of the 2011/2012 Western Gulf Advisory (WGA)-backed Supercars season.
Varutti won an eventful race one after overtaking pole-sitter Azzam in lap one, and then was just two laps away from registering a personal double towards the end of race two. But the world-renowned karting ace was then hit with a gearbox problem which allowed Azzam to take over as leader and eventually claim the second event’s chequered flag.
“Our two victories are a result of all the hard work our team has put in between round one and today; we’ve had a lot of sleepless nights especially this past week, and it’s great to have finished first and second in both races while also winning pole position twice,” Batelco team manager Osama Al Saad said.
“We are likely now leading the teams’ and drivers’ championships, and that is very rewarding, but we know that there are still four rounds to go and there is still a lot of racing to be done, so we will continue working hard.”
Varuttii started race one from second position alongside pole-sitter Azzam. He made his move to first on turn eight of the opening lap, and then powered on to victory in 28 minutes 03.482 seconds. Azzam was 3.662 seconds behind as the runner-up, whileSaudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al Yaeesh of Speeding Saddles Racing Team rounded out the podium placers 10.502s back.
In race two, Varuttii was on pole and he did well to steer clear of trouble from the rolling start on, until his unfortunate car trouble on lap 13 gifted Azzam the victory. Azzam registered a winning mark of 18 minutes 51.055 seconds. Varuttii was 5.433 seconds back, while Faisal Raffii of Alba Racing Team claimed third 8.479s off the winning pace.
“It’s quite disappointing not to have won both races especially after coming so close, but I proved that I was the fastest all weekend and to get first and second plus pole position for race one are all great results, and I’m looking forward to keeping things going strong in the next rounds,” said Varuttii.
Azzam added: “It’s been a great weekend for me and for Batelco. It’s my first time competing in the SC09 category of the championship, and I could not ask for more after achieving what we did.”
Al Yaeesh, who started race one from eighth, put on a spirited performance to claim third and was generally upbeat despite ending yesterday’s second WGA Supercars event in ninth. “The first race was quite exciting, there was a lot of action and I’m very pleased I was able to take third place. Race two was a different story, but we’re an entirely new team and we’re still learning many things; hopefully by the next round we’ll continue to improve and finally get a victory.”
Faisal Raffii of Alba commented: “Things are getting more challenging each round but our team is doing a great job. We have more than 50 per cent of the championship still to go, and we’re focused and determined on achieving all our goals.”
In the championship’s SC06 category, Talal Al Gaith of Alba took first place in both races.
The third round of 2011/2012 WGA SupercarsMiddle EastChampionship is set to take place as part of the next installment of Speed Weekend at Bahrain International Circuit, scheduled for January 6 and 7 next year.
SBIRRAZZUOLI AND GHANEM WIN IN INAUGURAL MASERATI TROFEO RACES
Cedric Sbirrazzuoli of Monaco put in a strong performance to claim a flawless pole-to-flag victory in the historic first-ever race of the Maserati Trofeo JBF RAK Middle East series, and then Joe Ghanem of Lebanon captured race two.
Sbirrazzuoli completed 27 laps when the chequered flag was waved to mark the end of the opening 30-minute session. Patrick Zamparini was the runner-up finishing 16.606s behind, while Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive at Bahrain International Circuit, finished third to grab the final podium place 30.409s from the victor.
Shaikh Salman did well to overtake Faisal Shaker on the 10th lap and then held on tight to keep his position until the very end. The circuit chief was 0.409s off Sbirrazzuoli’s pace.
In a much tighter race two in which the top five were separated by only a second-and-a-half, Ghanem was the victor in 27 laps. Sbirrazzuoli was this time the runner-up 1.341s behind, while Shaikh Salman once again exhibited his fine racing talents by clinching third place 29.404s.
The second round of the one-make Maserati Trofeo series will be held as part of Speed Weekend in January.
KELLOGG REGISTERS YET ANOTHER PERFECT WEEKEND
Stephen Kellogg raced to yet another perfect weekend in the BIC 2,000cc Challenge yesterday after winning both races of the third round in the 2011/2012 season.
Starting race one from pole in his Honda CIVIC, Kellogg did enough to hold off a challenge from the pair of Tim Birkin (Honda Integra) and Abdulrahman Ghuloom (Honda CIVIC) to take the chequered flag in 20 minutes 29.788 seconds.
Kellogg then secured his second double of the championship with a victory in race two. He completed the 15-lap sprint in 20:29.279, and this time was 5.920s ahead of Ghuloom.
Alex Longden (BMW 3 Series) finished third, while Ahmed Kuzbar (Ford Focus 2.0) and Hussain Karimi (Honda CRX) rounded out the classification.
With yesterday’s results, Kellogg extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings of the series.
The next round of the BIC 2,000cc Challenge will take place later this month as part of the National Racing Festival at Bahrain International Circuit.
WGA SUPERCARS MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIP RACE ONE CLASSIFICATION:
1 Alban Varuttii 28:03.482; 2 Ramez Azzam +3.662s;
3 Abdulaziz Al Yaeesh +10.502s; 4 Mustafa Al Khan +12.012s;
5 Tarek Elgammal +12.456s; 6 Mohammed Mattar +13.163s;
7 Raed Raffii +13.427s; 8 Faisal Raffii +14.663s;
9 Ahmed Al Kuwari +16.823s; 10 Talal Al Gaith SC06 +24.196s;
11 Nasser Al Alawi SC06 +25.054s.
Fastest lap: Alban Varuttii SC09 1:14.992.
WGA SUPERCARS MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIP RACE TWO CLASSIFICATION:
1 Ramez Azzam 18:51.055; 2 Alban Varuttii +5.433s;
3 Faisal Raffii +8.479s; 4 Mustafa Al Khan +9.306s;
5 Mohammed Mattar +9.615s; 6 Raed Raffii +10.884s;
7 Tarek Elgammal +17.783s; 8 Ahmed Al Kuwari +42.969s;
9 Abdulaziz Al Yaeesh +43.836s; 10 Talal Al Gaith SC06 +1:03.392;
11NasserAl Alawi SC06 +1:03.756.
Fastest lap: Mohammed Mattar SC09 1:14.226.
MASERATI TROFEO JBF RAK MIDDLE EAST RACE ONE CLASSIFICATION:
1 Cedric Sbirrazzuoli 32:03.608; 2 Patrick Zamparini +16.606s;
3 Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa +30.409s; 4 Justino de Azcarate Riiveroll +45.618s;
5 Faisal Shaker +48.561s; 6 Mohammed Jawa +56.039s;
7 Ziad Ghandour +58.487s; 8 Khaled Al Mudhaf +1 lap;
9 Joe Ghanem +2 lap; 10 Carlo Romani +2 laps;
11 Tani Hanna +3 laps; 12 Osamah Shaker +23 laps.
Fastest lap: Patrick Zamparini 1:10.144.
MASERATI TROFEO JBF RAK MIDDLE EAST RACE TWO CLASSIFICATION:
1 Joe Ghanem 27 laps; 2 Patrick Zampari +0.082s;
3 Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa 0.576s; 4 Ziad Ghandour +33.025s;
5 Mohammed Jawa +56.171s; 6 Faisal Shaker +1:02.439;
7 Giorgio Manuzzi +1 lap; 8 Khaled Al Mudhaf +1 lap;
9 Osamah Shaker +1 lap; 10 Adrien de Leener +1 lap;
11 Tani Hanna +1 lap; 12 Justine de Azcarate Riiveroll 21 laps. Fastest lap: Joe Ghanem 1:09.666.