UAE: Tom Bale crowned 2014 Formula Gulf 1000 Champion
Sun, March 30th 2014 -It went down to the wire at Yas Marina for this nail biter of a finish. Saeed Bintouq went into the event leading Tom Bale by only a few points, meaning that Tom needed to have the perfect score from the weekend (Pole, 2 wins and both fastest laps) to be the Champion.
Joining the grid this weekend was Saad Ali who had flown in from Pakistan. Coming to the circuit with his locally based brother he was hoping to put together his previous F.BMW training to good use in the Formula Gulf car. In qualifying it was Tom Bale who managed to grab pole by 0.5 of a second from Saeed. In doing so really showing his intent to win this Championship. In race one Tom and Saeed went into turn one side by side, but with Tom having the inside line advantage he was able lead into the first section around the marina.
Saeed was close up behind but had attracted the attention of race control by running wide a couple of times out of turns 13 and 14 thus getting a warning flag. Saeed tidied up his driving and was trading fastest laps with Bale. Saad Ali was putting in faster and faster times and moved to third. At the end of the 22 laps it was Tom Bale who was still leading with a small gap over Saeed to take the win and importantly fastest lap.
Race 2 started in much the same fashion as race one with Tom leading Saeed through the first complex. For the next 15 laps both drivers were putting in consistent 61.5 second laps and maintaining a tight gap and it looked like Tom had it all wrapped up. However, all of a sudden the timing screens lit up with purple numbers next to Saeed’s name, he was on a charge! Posting a couple of 60.8 second laps he was right on the back of Tom and was looking to pass! For the next 2 laps they were nose to tail, Tom driving impeccably with no chance of a mistake and Saeed with nothing to lose and looking for any way through.
However as the leaders came into turn 18 under the Yas Hotel Saeed (Bintouq) had a big moment and he went round, spinning the car (there was much despair amongst the Yas staff in race control for their Yas supported driver as all hope was lost)!
Saeed got going almost instantly but with only 2 laps remaining there was no way of getting back up to Tom and the race was won. Saad Ali came home for another 3rd, but had ended by putting lap times within a second of the leading drivers. Saeed had taken fastest lap in race 2, but with Tom’s win it put them on a level points score of 285 each. So, if there is a tie on points the win will be given to the driver with the most wins over the season and this was Tom Bale with 9 wins over the 5 of Saeed.
With a very consistent finishing record for Adnan Bahrami he finished in a well deserved 3rd place overall. Tom also takes the Gulf Oil prize and can now look forward to an all expenses paid trip to the 24 Hours of leMans as a guest of Aston Martin Racing.
With the season over, the focus now switches to testing and training and with some exciting changes soon to be announced soon for Season Four.
Report supplied by GulfSport.
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