The penultimate round of the 2012/13 Radical Winter Cup run by AUH Motorsports at the Dubai Autodrome saw South African, Dubai resident, Jordan Grogor smash the lap record in race one as he fought his way from last to first due to him missing the morning’s practice and qualifying sessions.
A delayed flight from a business trip forced Grogor to sit out the morning sessions which meant he had to start from last place in both races, but it was all the inspiration he needed to turn them into two emphatic victories.
Australian Tarek Elgammal currently leads the title as well as the SR3 class and only needs to play it safe at next weekend’s last round in Abu Dhabi to clinch the series.
For race one, British driver Richard Sykes grabbed pole in his SR8 with 1:36.918 from Bassam Kronfli who shared his car with Brit Rob Wheldon on 1:37.029, then it was the SR3 pole for Elgammal in 3rd outright with 1:40.116.
As the lights went out, Grogor was off to a flying start from the back, running down the dusty side of the track into turn one and slipping into third which became second by the end of lap one and first by lap three.
Sykes lost the run down to turn one to fellow front row qualifier Kronfli whom Grogor hunted down in the early stages before taking the lead.
Round five star, Mohammed Jawa was keeping Elgammal in sight for the SR3 lead until he spun and crashed in the final few minutes allowing the Aussie to take the SR3 win from the Kuwaiti Al Nusif brothers and the new pairing of Rami Azzam and Hassan Ghzail.
Out front however, Grogor demolished the outright Radical record which he set in November 2011 by 1.2 seconds when he clocked a 1:35.844 second time on lap 24 on his way to a comfortable win from Kronfli/Wheldon and Richard Sykes and Charlie Kemp in third.
“It just all came together nicely. We started with fresh tyres and the temps came down a bit,” Grogor said.
“It was a tough race,” SR3 winner Elgammal said. “I had a 65 second pit stop so I had to keep (Mohammed) Jawa well behind but it was a shame he crashed out as he was pushing me very hard. We also had a few small brake troubles which we’ll get sorted for race two,” he added.
Race two pole went to Kronfli from Sykes/Kemp with Rami Azzam taking pole in the SR3 class in third outright from Elgammal, however it wasn’t a race to remember for Kemp who stalled on the warm up lap and was forced to take a drive through penalty as a result. During this, he was then caught speeding in pit lane and was sent back for another costly drive through immediately after.
Grogor once again bolted from the back and slotted into P3 on lap one, moved to P2 on lap two and into the lead by lap five, while Wheldon retired the Kronfli car on lap three with mechanical troubles.
Mohammed Jawa started in a new car after his race one crash and drove well to come home in fourth outright and second in class behind Elgammal who limped across the line, stopping just after the chequered flag in third outright and the SR3 class winner.
Despite their two drive through penalties, the Sykes/Kemp duo fought back for second place outright behind the day’s winner and driver of the day, Grogor. Looking at the big picture though and with one round remaining, it’s Elgammal who is sitting in the box seat for the title.
“I can relax a bit now for the next round as I need to only collect a few more points at Yas to clinch the championship,” he said. “Something happened to the engine in race two which cut out just before the finish but luckily it rolled across the line. I don’t know what it was but I would have pushed it across if I had to,” he said.
The final round takes place at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit on March 14/15.
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