Doha Qatar, April 2nd 2014 – Last weekend the final round of the Radical Middle East Cup returned to the famous F1 circuit at Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi. After six testing rounds and now with double points up for grabs in the final round, any one of four teams could have scooped overall victory, it was a nail biting and tense occasion for Qatari driver Amro Al Hamad who showed exceptional fighting spirit and camaraderie throughout, against the odds.
During the season, Al Hamad endured a raft of mechanical woes in his Radical SR3, in his debut season racing in the Supersport class. He narrowly secured both the Driver and Team Championship titles with his Shell sponsored Alpha Team Qatar by one point.
Al Hamad campaigned hard in two races of forty-five minutes during each weekend, sometimes as a sole driver which was exhausting, or sharing the drive with newly crowned F3 Euro Open Champ Ed Jones.
Al Hamad struggled with his car all season, in round two he suffered a technical failure and withdrew from the round, and on occasion had to miss practice due to electrical or technical malfunctions but as a true sportsman he also shared his car with a fellow Qatari racer who had a damaged car. Then when Al Hamad’s own car was mechanically out of action he in turn received use of a donor car from another driver. And during round six, whilst in second position, he managed to hobble to a stop only a few meters over the finish line with a mechanical failure, to finish the race and score points.
It all came down to the final round however where his struggles continued only just managing to pip nearest rivals, Kuwait team Al Wadha Racing, by just one point to secure the title. The first race of the weekend proved full of surprises and close racing as no-one wanted to give an inch, all drivers desperate to finish and gain maximum points.
“Entering the final round I had 24points, laying in third place overall, I honestly hoped I could make it, but when I started to have electrical problems with the car, my heart sank. If it wasn’t for the sportsmanship of Gordon Mellis I wouldn’t have been able to practice at all as he lent me his car on Thursday and thanks to him I set the second fastest time in that practice session.”
Next day, Al Hamad had to qualify in third in another different car and managed to avoid the altercations of the first few laps, after a long hard battle he came home unscathed, to the podium in second place.
“Overnight we were unable to find the fault, so for Friday qualifying, I was offered the series spare car to race with, which hadn’t been raced for over a year, at this point I was unsure of my chances of even finishing, but had to remain positive. The car needed setting up but I didn’t have time, I just had to go and qualify it as best I could, I managed 3rd on the grid which gave me a boost. I made some small set up changes and hoped they would help in the very last race, and thankfully I finished third,” said Al Hamad.
At the race end Al Hamad was still unsure who had claimed the title, due to a timing system fault It took an agonizing two hours for the results to be finally confirmed as to who had won the Radical Middle East Cup.
“Winning the championship is such a wonderful reward to all the hard work that has been invested throughout the season. It was also accompanied by some bad luck and misfortune with nerve wrecking situations, all that pain was worth it at the end and the circumstances that we went through taught me that it’s not over till it’s over. I literally won the championship in the last race of the last round, amazing,’’ beamed Al Hamad.
“I am glad I had my national flag held high winning this championship. I hope through my achievement it will encourage more Qatari companies to support my mission to raise the Qatari flag in the European Masters championship. The next step will take a more investment and of course a new car,” commented Al Hamad.
In the evening awards ceremony Al Hamad also scooped the award for Best Middle East driver in the series, Best Middle East Zone driver in round seven at Yas Marina, and Championship Team Trophy for “Alpha Qatar Racing” as well as the overall Drivers Championship trophy.
I really want to thank my Gold sponsors Shell, and Bronze sponsors Qatar Sub and Gulf Turbo Services, as without their support I wouldn’t be able to bring the title to Qatar.
Also I must say a big thanks to my co-driver Ed Jones and I wish him all the best in his F3 races this year. And a big thanks to AUH motorsports for providing their technical expertise through out the season and organising such a wonderful , competitive championship.
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