Dubai: Double wins for Binladen in UAE Sportbikes as Papantonis wins both NGK Racing Series races
7th March 2014-Dubai Autodrome hosted championship races for the NGK Racing Series and UAE Sportbikes, with hot conditions proving a challenge to drivers and riders on a day which saw Abdulaziz Binladen take maximum points in the UAE Sportbikes, and Costas Papantonis returning to his winning ways in the NGK Racing Series.
Binladen was once again untouchable on the day aboard his Liberty Kawasaki, winning both 600 Class races comfortably and setting the best race lap time which was over a second faster than his closest rival.
He said afterwards, “It ws a tough day in terms of conditions. The heat really impacted our pace. But in the end two wins is good points to go home with at this stage of the championship.”
Best of the rest in the 600 Class was reigning champion Mahmoud Tannir on the brand new Honda which he was racing for the first time, taking second place in both races.
Tannir revealed afterwards, “The Honda was really good and I managed a personal best today so the bike is good. We have just received it so there is still work to do to get top speed and performance out of it. But for a first competitive outing this is a great result.”
Yamaha rider Michael Collins was third if the first race and with it taking top honours in the Rookie Cup. In race two Yamaha rider Ahmad Khammas scored his maiden Rookie Cup win, on his way to third overall.
Alan Boyter won both non-championship 1000 Class races on his Kawasaki, with Nasser Al Shaiba on the BMW in second and Steve Blackney making his race debut on a KTM finishing third.
After missing the previous round due to illness, multiple UAE champion Costas Papantonis – at the wheel of the Gulf Petrochem SEAT – came back in the best way possible, taking two overall wins in the NGK Racing Series and in the process setting a personal best time and breaking the lap record on the National circuit configuration.
Papantonis summed up his day, “It was good to come back and win both races, and also satusfying I was able to beat my personal best around this circuit. Thanks to my sponsors Gulf Petrochem for their support and of course my crew who did a good job. We go home happy with two trophies.”
Newcomer Hussain Al Malkawi, driving a SEAT, finished second in Class 1 in the first race, but did not finish the second race.
It was a bittersweet day for the Gulf Petrochem outfit, as perennial front runner Alexandros Annivas suffered with clutch problems which kept him out of contention in both races.
Class 2 proved to be a battle between Honda drivers Jonathan Mullan and Rupesh CHannake, with Mullan grabbing victory in race one and Channake bouncing back to claim maximum points in race two. The pair inseparable all day.
Channake sad afterwards, “In the first race we had some setup issues which affected the handling and impacted my race, but in the second race I changed my driving style to suit this new setup and it turned out well I guess. The racing was close, it’s really getting exciting now.”
Mullan summed up his day, “The day started off very well, we were very fast in the first race whch we won. In the second race I got behind Rupesh, I tried really hard – maybe too hard – and I cooked the tyres. But no worries we will be back again next time.”
In the first NGK Racing Series race of the day Simon Dennis scored a popular first win in the Clio Cup and made it a double on the day with victory in race two.
Dennis said after the podium ceremony, “I am feeling very emotional. I would like to dedicate this victory to my late wife Margret who has always been a supporter and thus it goes to her. I won the 2008 karting championship, made the switch to track racing and this victory has been a long time coming. Working hard, trying to get quicker each race – so this is the cherry on the cake.”
Konstantino Annivas, making a welcome appearance in the second Gulf Petrochem Renault, and chased Dennis hard all day, bagging second place on both occasions.
The next round of the UAE motor racing national championships takes place at Dubai Autodrome on 21 March.