5 November 2010
Race Report: Round 3 of the Total UAE Touring Car Championship
Emirates Racing Team’s Khalid Bin Hadher battled off the attentions of MSW Racing’s Andre Ramdhanny and Nader Zuhour to take a strong win in Class 1 – the battleground of the Seats – of the first Total UAE Touring Car race of the day. Initially he had Ramdhanny and Zuhour filling his mirrors but the former had fuel pump problems that saw him fall down the field while Zuhour also dropped back towards the end.
It was much of the same in race two although Zuhour led several laps before he dropped back and Bin Hadher powered through to take his second win of the day, while Ramdhanny was plagued with problems which resulted in a DNF for the rookie.
Bin Hadher said, “It is good to win especially after Andre and Nader pushed me hard in the early stages of both races. It’s a shame they had problems.”
In race one of the tightly fought Total UAE Touring Cars Class 2, top honours went to A2B Garage Honda driver Spencer Vanderpal who made his way from the back of the grid to snatch the lead from reigning champion Umair Khan in the Lap57 Honda.
The battle for third place in Class 2 was fierce with Sheikh Salman Bin Rashid Al Khalifa (Duel Racing Renault) slugging it out with the Emirates Racing Honda duo of Zlatko Mulabegovic and Essa Bin Hadher and Jason O’Keefe (A2B Garage Honda). The quartet were swapping positions and fending each other off until the inevitable coming together on lap 7 between Sheikh Khalifa, Mulabegovic and O’Keefe entering the long back straight, which resulted in a walk back to the pits for the trio. This paved the way for Essa Bin Hadher to take the final podium spot.
In race two Vanderpal was untouchable, winning Class 2 by over ten seconds from Khan who had his mirror’s full of O’Keefe who crossed the line in third, making it an all Honda podium. O’Keefe recovering well from the Sheikh Salman and Mulabegovic, incident in the morning, which saw the latter two sidelined for the first race.
Vanderpal said afterwards, “It was really tight at the start and I was happy to get away from the Renaults and manage to catch Umair. In the first race starting from the back I got a really good start and really great to win twice today at the Festival.”
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