Batelco Drag965 wins round 2 of Kartdrome Endurance Championship

Batelco Drag965 wins round 2 of Kartdrome Endurance Championship

30.04.2016: ... driven by Mini after 600 laps Photo caption: 2016 Dubai Kartdrome 600 Laps Driven by Mini podium

... driven by Mini after 600 laps

Photo caption:    2016 Dubai Kartdrome 600 Laps Driven by Mini podium with (L to R) second placed CG Racing Pro, winners BatelcoDrag965 and third placed Mach1

First round winners CG Racing lament penalties to take second following race-long battle and claim Corporate and Nations Cup karting honours

BatelcoDrag965 fought out a titanic battle with CG Racing through the night in round two of 2016 Dubai Kartdrome Endurance Championship Driven by Mini to snatch victory by less than 11 seconds today.

The start of the 600-lap race was waved off at 7pm on Friday as a packed grid of 30 teams took to LeMans-style start, and all eyes were on the dramatic duel out front, with the Bahraini Batelco team winning by 10.416 seconds after almost 13 hours on track.

Comprising drivers Mohammed Matter, Ramez Azzam, Vincent Fraisse and Mohammed Al Mutawwa, Batelco swapped the lead with CG Racing numerous times, but it came down to an all-out sprint with strong driving by both teams after the last of the compulsory 18 pit stops were completed with 25 laps remaining.

Batelco’s final driver, Mattar, matched the lap times of CG’s David Terrien for much of the last stint to maintain his winning margin, with both teams clocking near identical pairings of 1:10.06 and 1:10.08 second laps after 12 hours.

“The guys did a fantastic job,” said Batelco’s team manager Kumail Al Musawai. “They were on the pace and were consistent all the way throughout the night. They did a brilliant job on the strategy which put us in the best position to win the race.”

For first round winners CG Racing it was a case of missed opportunities for drivers Terrien, Rami Azzam, Piers Pakenham-Walsh and Alban Varutti on track.

“We were close the whole race, but we made some mistakes where we lost a bit more than 20 seconds that dropped us to 25 seconds behind,” said captain and driver, David Terrien after his final stint.

“We caught Batelco and took the lead with two hours to go and then we got another penalty. So we lost because of a few penalties which is never very nice. But it was fair and we have to accept, at this level of racing, a single mistake costs heavily.”

Pole position went to MINI Dubai after an intense 10-minute session, as they clocked the fastest lap of 1:10.731 from LD, Dubai Falcon Racing, CG Pro and BatelcoDragon965 Racing.

Proving the competitiveness of the series yet again, the top 10 qualifiers were covered by just 0.3 seconds, with the fastest 17 karts separated by less than a second.

A full course yellow on lap 30 to retrieve a stranded kart after an accident bunched up the field and caused several teams to change strategies, but once green, it was a traffic jam of battles throughout.

As the temperature dropped, so did the lap times with the fastest of the race going to CG’s Alban Varutti after the Frenchman became the only driver to drop below the 1:10’s with a blistering 1:09.905 just before dawn.

It was only minutes later that the team suffered its knock-out blow, with a 30 second penalty for an on-track infringement.

Further down the field and an equally epic tussle for third and fourth emerged between ENOC-NH8 and Mach1 in the final hour following the last pit stops which also threatened rain for the closing stages, but held off until after the chequered flag.

Following the last stop, Mach1 held a 7.9 second gap to ENOCH-NH8 which was quickly eaten away at a rate of 8/10th of a second per lap until ENOCH-NH8 grabbed the final podium place with 11 laps remaining, eventually crossing the line in third, 9.99 seconds clear of Mach1.

The team’s jubilation was quickly overturned however when race stewards imposed a three-lap penalty for exceeding the driver stint time, and they were relegated to eighth.

Four other teams suffered the same post race penalty - Lukoil Racing, Dubai Falcon Racing Team, pole sitters MINI Dubai and IUM Racing.

Kartdrome Manager Ryan Trutch said: “Well done to Batelco and CG Pro, and also a big congratulations to Omantel Ozone and Omantel Makasib who won the Spirit Of The Event and the Newbie Trophy for coming all the way from Oman.

And a big thank you to Yalla MINI who supported the event with a huge display of cars and launched the new MINI cabrio over the weekend. They had a great turnout and added to the great atmosphere this race is known for.”

Winners in the corporate class were CG Racing in fifth outright from Fly Emirates who finished 12th outright and CG Academy in 17th outright.

photo caption:    BatelcoDrag965 driver Mohammed Matter celebrates his team’s outright win taking the chequered flag in the 2016 Dubai Kartdrome 600 Laps Driven by Mini

The Nations Cup for teams comprised of one nationality again went to Lebanon’s CG Racing in fifth outright from the Russian LD team in seventh and the all-Indian ENOC-NH8 squad coming home in eighth place overall.

With summer approaching, the 2016 Kartdrome Endurance Championship Driven by Mini takes a break and returns with the 700km round three race in October followed by the season finale 24-hour in December.

Top Ten results:

1.    BatlecoDrag965 600lLaps
2.    CG Racing PRO 600 laps
3.    Mach1 596 laps
4.    Globcom – Flame 595 laps
5.    CG Racing 595 laps
6.    Team Emirates 594 laps
7.    LD 594 laps
8.    ENOC - NH 8 593 laps
9.    Bin Drai Karting Team 593 laps
10.    Pirelli 592 laps

- Lindsay Johnston, Total Communications Dubai - also photos


30.04.2016 / MaP

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