UAE National Racing: Lamborghini finally trump Ferrari in NGK GT Championship
Yas Marina Circuit, Dec 16th-In the shadow of Ferrari World, Lamborghini inflicted the first defeat of the season on the dominant Ferrari in Round 4 of the NGK UAE GT Championship.
Stuart Hall powered the Gulf Racing Lamborghini LP560 to the team’s first victory in the series, setting the fastest lap in the process of the one hour mini-enduro. The British driver survived a drive through penalty for entering the pits later than the stipulated time during the 30 laps he completed.
Hall did the one hour stint by himself after regular team mate Roald Goethe failed to make it to Abu Dhabidue to business commitments in Austria.
Hall said: “My team mate was stuck in Austria so he said I should go for it alone and honestly it was not too bad as the weather is cool and conditions fine. We had strong pace today, the best all season. The Lamborghini was strong around Yas Marina Circuit. I know the Ferrari were penalized, but we also served a 20 seconds penalty. They did have more pace than us although we were much closer than we were in Dubai, but pace doesn’t always win as we saw today.”
Second across the line and taking top honours in the GT3 Endurance Class was Ahmad Al Harthy in the Lechner Porsche GT3, with Christian Menzel taking third in the sister car.
The hitherto dominant, AUH Motorsports prepared Ferrari with Leon Price and Rob Barff, were fourth over the finish line and second in the GTA Class. Their run of wins came to an end after a couple of costly pit stop related infringements during the race. First they stopped outside the stipulated time window and the second penalty was for a pit time infringement.
Third in the GTA Class was the second Gulf Racing Lamborghini with Frederic Fatien and Fabien Giroix sharing duties in the cockpit, making it a good day for the Dubai Autodrome based team.
John Iossifidis and Yusif Basel shared the Aston Martin Vantage to take top honours in the GTC Class ahead of the Emal Racing Porsche 968 of Ray Bignell and Graeme Hannah.
Total UAE Touring Cars: Papantonis, Al Owais and Khan win
Round 7 and Round 8 of the Total UAE Touring Car Championship took place at Yas Marina Circuit and Class 1 produced some of the best racing of the day on the island.
There was nothing to separate the trio of SEATs of Mohammed Al Owais (Emirates Racing Team), Costas Papantonis (Gulf Petrochem SEAT) and privateer Nader Zuhour. The trio swapped places throughout the two races, with Papantonis taking an impressive win in the first race and Al Owais taking second after Zuhour made an error which cost him victory.
Credit to Zuhour, showing modesty that is rare among race drivers, he was the first to admit the mistake, “I got the car on the rumble strip, it was damp and very slippery and next thing I was facing the wrong way. I lost five seconds on the leaders and that was that.” He crossed the line third.
Al Owais struck back to win the second race with Zuhour fending off Papantonis, the latter pair finishing second and third respectively.
Al Owais summed up his day, “Really it was a tale of two totally different races. I don’t know if it was the car or maybe me, but in race one the car was all over the place and then in race two it was perfect. But I must say the first race Costas [Papantonis] was really very strong, he drove very well and deserved to win. In the second race I got a good start and the rest is history.”
Reigning Total UAE Touring Car Champion Umair Khan powered his Lap57 Honda to two emphatic victories in Class 2. Khan, who is gunning for his third successive UAE title, arrived in Abu Dhabi trailing Aslam Moola (Emirates Racing Team) in the points standings and needed a good showing on the day to put his championship back on track.
Moola chased hard all day and will go away happy with two second place finishes on a track that clearly suited Khan’s Honda. Rupesh Channaka (Lap57 Honda) was third in both races.
Alexandros Annivas (Gulf Petrochem Renault) was unbeatable in the Clio Cup – race within a race – with two wins on the day over Nabil Moutran (Duel Racing).
In the Suzuki Swift Cup – the other race within a race – there were two winners on the day with Mohammed Al Shimy taking top honours in the first race and Panagiotis Karakoulakis tops in the second race.
Race report by Dubai Autodrome