UK: Young Kuwait racer Haytham Qarajouli enjoys another top ten result at Brands Hatch season finale
UK, Tuesday Oct 15th 2019
It was another rain-soaked weekend at Brands Hatch GP circuit for the up and coming 15yr old racer from Kuwait, in the final round of the Ginetta Junior Championship (Oct 12/13th).
Haytham has just completed his inaugural season in motorsport and his debut in the 2019 Ginetta Junior Championship, one of the most competitive junior Championships for drivers aged between 14 to 17 years. He joined the series at age 14 years old, turning 15 at the end of March.
The weather forecast, once again, did not offer much sunshine over the weekend, making conditions extremely challenging. Testing on Friday was hampered by multiple red flags during the Juniors sessions making it difficult to get a good set up, with the added rain, progress was difficult.
In addition, qualifying on Saturday (12 October), was a bit hit and miss with 2 red flags during the session, and under damp cloudy conditions, many drivers found the going very slippery, especially on the back part of the seldom used GP sector.
For Race 1, Haytham qualified in 9th place on the grid, again in full wet conditions, however he was unable to convert his great pace into points as he was pushed off the track on lap one at Hawthorn bend and got stuck in the gravel, resulting in a DNF.
Race 2 on Saturday started later than scheduled at 6:00pm, Haytham started 15th on the grid, just as the heavens opened and torrential rain fell on the 2.4mile Kent circuit. Visibility was poor, but the young driver had carved his way through to an admirable 9th position. Half the eight-lap race was held under the safety car, deployed twice during the race. Just as the drivers got the green flag and on the last lap at Dingle Dell corner, Haytham was hit by another car and pushed into the gravel, another DNF, his sixth of the season, and not the result he had hoped for.
On Sunday there would be just one race at 1:30pm, again in support of the main attraction the British Touring Car Championship, all televised on Live on ITV4. Due to the earlier DNF’s, Haytham’s grid position was 20th.
Immediate drama on the opening lap saw Haytham’s car sprayed in mud by another car as it slid through the mud back onto the track, unable to see clearly for most of the lap Haytham was forced to wait till there was sufficient spray water on the windscreen before applying his wipers to avoid smearing the whole screen.
Fortunately, a safety car was soon deployed and racing resumed after a few laps. On lap five there were a few spinning cars out of Graham Hill bend causing four cars to spin off, Haytham managed to narrowly avoid hitting them and took the chequered flag in 9th place, a great top ten result for the young Kuwait racer in his first year of racing.
Haytham’s final results for the season unfortunately don’t reflect the great speed he has had over the latter part of the year however he was placed 11th rookie from 23, and 19th overall from 32 entries.
“I’m have to admit I’m a bit disappointed in Saturday’s performance, it’s not a nice feeling when you get taken off by another car, it’s such a different feeling from my Podium weekend at Silverstone, but that’s the way racing goes sometimes and I just have to focus on the positives and look forward to next season”, commented Haytham.
“I have learnt a huge amount this year, and it has gone better than expected, despite having six DNF’s this season I have really developed a lot and found good pace with the car, and I managed to get onto the podium twice”.
“I want to thank again all the fantastic team at TCR (Total Control Racing), especially team owner Lee Brookes who has guided me every step of the way and to Lex Akehurst my manager for believing in me and pushing me on”.
“The biggest thanks go to my parents and my family for all the incredible support and encouragement and to my sponsors and partners who make the racing all possible. I am honoured to receive such great support from Kuwait this weekend again from Sheikh Ali Salem AlSabah, who has been to most of my races this year”.