Cytech UAE Touring Car Championship
Also grabbing attention was the return of reigning Champion, Emirati, Omran Al Owais who was drafted in to drive Khaled Bin Hadher’s SEAT at Yas Marina. Al Owais, who has been out of UAE national action for most of the year, has been focusing on campaigning in the Chev Supercup Middle East. Also in the mix for top honours was Nadir Zuhour in his privately entered SEAT who, apart from improving with every outing, has become a regular Class 1 front runner in the latter half of the season. In Race 1, starting from pole position, Al Owais stormed into the lead and was never headed again, winning by over 19 seconds and setting the fastest lap of the race by over two seconds from his closest rival.
With Al Owais ahead and out of the picture, fans were treated to a titanic three way battle for second place between title contenders Al Mutawaa, Simmonds and Zuhour. The trio slugged it out throughout the race with Simmonds getting an edge over Zuhour, who had his mirrors filled with Al Mutawaa. On the final lap Al Mutawaa managed to get past and when the chequered flag waved it was Owais from Simmonds and Al Muatwaa. In Race 2 Al Owais again got away early with Simmonds, Zuhour and Al Mutawaa chasing. But it was not going to be a repeat of the first race for Al Owais as he parked on the side of the track with technical issues which promoted Simmonds into the lead where he stayed until the chequered flag dropped. Behind him Zuhour was able to keep Al Mutawaa at bay this time, the two finishing second and third respectively.
Simmonds said afterwards, “I am very happy with today’s results. I feel I have the momentum going into the final round this coming weekend.” Class 2: Khan and Moola take a win apiece In Class 2 Umair Khan (Lap 57 Honda) has overall Cytech UAE Touring Car Championship title ambitions. He faced a big challenge from Emirati team mate Omran Al Owais and South African privateer Aslam Moola. All three in Hondas.
From the start the three were at each other and by mid distance, although Omran Al Owais dropped getting the best view in the house of Moola and Khan scraping paint. The two swapping places throughout the race until the very end when Moola managed to get by and score the Class 2 win from Khan with Omran Al Owais third.
In race two it was again the usual suspects haggling over the same space of tarmac with nothing to separate Moola and Khan, but this time Khan took top honours with Moola losing a gear but nonetheless finishing second. Omran Al Owais had mechanical problems which gave Jason O’Keefe (a2b Honda) a well deserved third place for his efforts on the day. Channake Rupesh (Lap 57 Honda) won the first Class 3 race while Costas Papantonis took the spoils in the Suzuki Swift “race within the race”.
Papantonis went on to win Race 2 after Rupesh encountered problems. The scene is set for a massive showdown going into the season final at Dubai Autodrome on Friday, 23 April 2010. Simmonds fancies his chances of securing both the Class 1 and overall titles but Al Mutawaa is a fighter by nature and will be going all out to capture the top prizes that are up for grabs. As will Khan who still has an outside chance of taking the overall title, while having all but secured the Class 2 championship at Yas Marina