UAE: National Race Day featuring NGK Enduro, UAE Sportbikes and FG1000
Dubai, Friday 22nd Nov:- Tony Wells and James Littlejohn shared the driving in a Radical R8 to take top honours by a long margin in the NGK Enduro at Dubai Autodrome on Friday, 22 November.
The pair – contesting the Radical Middle East Cup – completed 106 laps of the Club Circuit, after rains forced organisers to shift the race day from the original National Circuit configuration to shorter and tighter Club variation for safety reasons.
Littlejohn said afterwards, “We managed to get a good start and thereafter controlled the pace. We were aware of the McLaren but knew we had the edge. It was good to win especially as we were never quite sure if the rain would come or not.”
Chasing hard for almost the entire enduro were the pairing of Rob Barff and Jordan Grogor in the Dragon Racing McLaren 12C GT Sprint, but a certain second place evaporated as did the fuel in their car – with a couple of laps to go Barff coasted to a halt with an empty tank.
Instead, second overall went to the father and son pairing of Costas Papantonis and Alexandros Annivas in the Gulf Petrochem SEAT who revelled in the challenge of racing in the enduro format for the first time.
Papantonis said afterwards, “It was great fun as the combination of strategy, teamwork and driving to a set pace was a challenge. Our first enduro together was most enjoyable, where we were up against some faster cars and had to be concentrating all the time. A great race for us and I am pleased with the outcome which we dedicate to our sponsors Gulf Petrochem.”
Third place overall went to Scott Balsdon and Oliver Smith in the Radical SR3, which also gave them top spot in the tightly contested Supersports Class of the Radical Middle East Cup. Salman Al Khater drove the entire enduro on his own, in a Radical SR3, to take fourth overall and second in the Supersports Class.
Rain in the morning caused a delay in proceedings as the track dried out and causing one of the two scheduled UAE Sportbikes races to be cancelled.
In the one race, run late in the afternoon with the Dubai skies laden with rain clouds, it was Abdulaziz Binladen who powered to victory aboard his Kawasaki adding to the two wins he scored on the opening day earlier this month.
Binladen said, “It was always going to be tricky with the conditions threatening rain all the time. In the end we were able to get a good start and maintain the gap to second place and win quite comfortably. I am happy that the two guys who went down are fine.”
Second place went to Gautam Mayilvaganan on a Yamaha, with Joe Oxley taking third on his Ducati. Reigning champion Mahmoud Tannir was fourth, struggling with tyres on his Triumph Daytona.
Rookie Cup honours went to Ahmed Khammas on a Yamaha.
Omar Naji (Yamaha) and Chris Doyle (Triumph Daytona) crashed out early on in the race, without injury.
The opening two races of the Formula Gulf 1000 season took place on the day with Malaysian lady racer Natasha Seater taking top honours in both races by a comfortable margin in each race. Runner-up in both was Saeed Bin Touq.
In Race 1 Abdullah El Khereji scored his maiden podium and Abdullah Kabbani was third in Race 2.
The next UAE National Race Day takes place at Dubai Autodrome on 13 December 2013.