Total UAE Touring Cars: Doubles for Papantonis and Khan as Moutran brothers make history
UAE Touring Cars, Race Day 8 – Dubai Autodrome hosted the eighth UAE National race day of the 2011/2012 season with an action packed bill on Friday (2 March), featuring: Round 6 of the Total UAE Touring Cars, Round 6 of the Motorcity UAE Sportbikes, Round seven of the NGK UAE CT Championship, Round 6 of the Maserati Trofeo Middle East, Round 5 of the FG1000 and Round 5 of the Suzuki Swift Cup.
Costas Papantonis took two wins in Class 1 of the Total UAE Touring Car Championship on the day at the wheel of his Gulf Petrochem SEAT as his title duel with championship leader Nader Zuhour intensified at Dubai Autodrome on Friday. The pair ran close together in the first race before it was red flagged for the track to be cleared of debris, but in race two Papantonis got going early and managed to edge out a a gap which he kept until the end. Zuhour was second in both races.
Former UAE Touring Car champion Papantonis said after his double wins, “It was a good day for our Gulf Petrochem team. The first race was a tough in the beginning but the second race was easier. Of course two wins makes it good for our championship chances and for sure we will be pushing Nader [Zuhour] to the very end.”
In Class 2 Umair Khan, driving his Lap57 Honda, also bagged a pair of wins on his way to consolidating his lead in the title race, edging ever closer to his third UAE Touring Car Championship title in a row. Khan was chased all day by team mate Rupesh Channake in the sister Lap57 Honda.
Khan said, “I can say that the first race I was pushed hard, but in the second race I managed to take control early on and in the end it was an easy win. Of course I have an eye on the championship, but am taking it one race at a time as the final round is double point scoring and the objective is to start and finish every race until the end.
Big news on the day was in the Clio Cup class where the Moutran brothers made motorsport history in the UAE by finish first, second and third in both races. Each time Ramzi Moutran got the better of his younger brothers Nabil and Sami respectively to head home the trio of Duel Racing Clios.
Ramzi said of the record breaking achievement, “Really it is a great day for us and our racing, all three of us on the podium is something we could only dream of and this morning my brother said to me how good it would be for all of us to be on the podium just once. And we did it – not once but twice today. And having our family here, especially my father, to witness this makes me very proud.”
Nabil added, “We finished older brother first, middle brother – me – second and younger brother third. This was not by design but rather the way it panned out. I really tried hard to reel in Ramzi, but he showed me today what a good race driver he is and also how fast he can be. But in the end a very good day for us as brothers, I am extremely proud.
In the Suzuki Swift Cup class Bashar Mardini scooped maximum points in both races, while Rob Barff and Leon Price scored a win each at the wheel of the AUH Motorsport prepared Ferrari 458 Italia in the NGK UAE GT Championship category.