2 April 2012
Joe Ghanem (Orient Racing) bagged a brace of wins at the Yas Marina Circuit to reinforce his lead in the Formula Gulf 1000 single seater championship for young drivers.
However, he did not have an easy time of it as his rivals, 18 year old Malaysian racer Natasha Seatter and FIA Academy driver Mohamed Al Mutawaa (Yas Marina Circuit) both set the fastest race laps in races one and two respectively.
Having qualified on pole position, Ghanem lined up on the front row of the grid next to Seatter with only the blink of an eye having separated them on lap times. In fact, as anindication of the impact that International driver coach Andy Pardoe is having, all the drivers qualified within one and a half seconds.
Race one saw Ghanem getting off to a blisteringly fast start and taking a two second lead from Al Mutawaa. But from lap three Seatter was consistently the fastest driver on track, got past Al Mutawaa and set off to catch Ghanem. She had the gap down to less than three quarters of a second when the chequered flag was shown. Al Mutawaa finished third after a great battle with Nicolas Canal.
Race two was a disaster for Seatter as her car had developed a fault that saw her having to park the car on the out lap. Post race, the problem was identified as a faulty master switch. However, the race was noticeable for two reasons. Seventeen year old Nicolas Canal showed exceptional pace and finished on the podium for the first time behind second place man Al Mutawaa. Rookie driver Harsh Rajpal showed enormous determination and improvement to catch and pass Umm Al Quwain’s Haitham Sultan Al Ali (Natl. Bank of Um Alquwain) to finish fourth.
It is fitting that this championship will be determined at the last event on 13th April at the Dubai Autodrome.