BIC, Sakhir – The WGA Supercars Middle East Championship is headed for a crucial stage in the 2011/2012 season. With the drivers’ and teams’ titles still up for grabs, the fifth and penultimate round taking place Friday and Saturday (March 30 and 31) at Speed Weekend could play a huge part in deciding who will be crowned at season’s end.
Batelco Racing are currently setting the pace on the Teams’ Championship Standings ahead of VIVA, Alba and the Speeding Saddles outfits; while their French ace Alban Varutti tops the table in the elite SC09 Drivers’ Championship.
But all that could change in a few days’ time, as the trailing pack look to step up their act at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) and better challenge the Batelco boys for the lead.
“It’s the round that could set our position in the championship,” said VIVA Racing Team manager Jamal Al Sayed. “Either we win, remain on the same positions or points, or step back.”
Alba Racing Team manager Nasser Al Qaseer added: “We and VIVA Racing are only two points apart, and we hope we can narrow the gap on Batelco. We’re going to have to start to push harder this round if we’re looking to win the title.”
The Supercars are sponsored by Bahrain-based asset management company Western Gulf Advisory (WGA), and are being supported by tyre giants Pirelli. Along with the Supercars, Speed Weekend will feature the season-finale of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.
Both series will be powering around BIC’s 5.412-kilometre Grand Prix track in blistering pace and will be running one race apiece on each of the two days.
Heading into round five, the Supercars recently had a full day of in-season testing at BIC, sessions that the teams said were an important part of their preparations.
“Our team did well in testing and we are very happy about what we were able to achieve,” said Batelco Racing Team manager Osama Al Saad. “I think that we found a good set-up for our car on the Grand Prix Track and we hope we can turn that into some good results starting with our races at Speed Weekend.”
Al Qaseer echoed the same sentiments: “We are excited about going out and racing again on this circuit. It’s a longer and faster track, and after having some good track time in tests, we hope we can finish without any problems with the car or accidents.”
Speeding Saddles team manager Nawaf Al Malood added: “We’re all set; our testing helped us out a lot. Our driver Ahmed Al Kuwari really knows how to communicate well with the team, and with his great feedback, we’ve found the best set-up for the car. Hopefully we can start to turn things around from this round.”
VIVA’s Al Sayed stated: “The GP Track is longer and needs more consistency in terms of driving. The tests were a very necessary session to do before the races. We’ve experienced a lot of advantages and disadvantages on this track and we hope for the best.”
Batelco Racing are leading the teams’ title race with 146 points. VIVA follows with 107, while Alba are on 105. The Speeding Saddles will also be looking to finish their season strong as they only have 55 points.
Batelco’s Varuttii leads the SC09 division, having won both races in the previous round of the championship. He improved his drivers’ championship standing to 68 points, 12 ahead of Alba’s Faisal Raffii. Another point behind is VIVA’s Tarek Elgammal, while Raed Raffii of VIVA, Ramez Azzam of Batelco and Mustafa Al Khan of Alba all still have a mathematical chance at the championship as part of the top six.
Race one for the WGA Supercars is scheduled for 4pm on Friday. It will be held over nine laps. Race two will be flagging off at 1.40pm on Saturday.
All are welcome to attend Speed Weekend, which will also feature plenty of off-the-track entertainment for the whole family, especially for young children.
Tickets can be purchased at the gate. They cost BD7 for adults for both days of the event and BD5 for one day. Children aged 12 years old and under can get in for free.For more information, visit BIC’s official website, www.bahraingp.com, or call the BIC Hotline on +973-17-450000.
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