Dubai, UAE, 9 December 2016: Two days of motorsport action and paddock activities kicked off at the Grand Prix Circuit of Dubai Autodrome on Friday, with six races taking place over the day, including MRF Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East, UAE Sportbike Championship and Formula Gulf Academy.
UAE Sportbike Championship
The two wheel warriors opened the proceedings with a morning race under the warm Dubai sunshine. Nasser Al Shaiba on his 1000cc Yamaha R1 bike topped qualifying with a best lap time of 2:08.520, just pipping Ahmed Almuyini riding a 600cc Kawasaki ZX6R by 0.518 seconds.
When the lights went out to start Race One it was Abdulaziz Bin Ladin who launched his 600cc Kawasaki ZX6R from third on the grid past the leaders and into the front-runner position.
Almuyini closed in on the leader but Bin Ladin held the top spot until dramatic events unfolded in the middle of the race. A fallen bike and rider in the middle of the pack brought out the red flags and ground the race to a temporarily halt.
The restart was good to Nasser Al Shaiba and he snatched the lead from Bin Ladin and took the victory by 2.185 seconds. Mahmoud Tannir, riding a Honda CBR600RR, trailed Bin Ladin for third.
Abdulaziz would get his revenge in Race Two. Al Shaiba started with the lead but was soon reeled in and overtaken by Bin Ladin. Meanwhile Ahmed Almuyini spent the race chasing down Mahmoud Tannir and finally overtook him on the last lap.
Bin Ladin sailed home for the win, a comfortable 6.234 seconds ahead of Al Shaiba. Almuyini earned a hard fought third place podium finish over Tannir.
Less than a second separated the top seven drivers in Qualifying, with Joey Mawson scraping by Harrison Newey by just 0.075 seconds, nailing pole position with a scorching lap time of 1:55.945. Mick Schumacher lined up for position three on the grid.
The thunderous din of sixteen MRF 2000 formula race cars lined upon the start grid rumbled the Grandstand at Dubai Autodrome. Mawson made a good getaway at the start but couldn’t hold on it as Newey snuck by for the lead on lap four.
Harrison Newey held on for the victory, crossing the finish line 2.572 ahead of Joey, while Mick kept his third place start right through until the end.
For the second race, the top six finishers were reversed to line up on the grid. That put Juri Vips in pole position. When racing commenced Vips seemed to make the most of pole jumped into the lead, followed closely by Felipe Drugovich, however, after three laps Drugovich seized the lead.
The Brazilian managed to hang on to the lead and win the race, just 0.712 seconds ahead of Joey Mawson. Juri Vips settled for third.
Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East
Ray Cullen of Ireland was the fastest during Qualifying, lighting up the timing screens with a best lap of 2:02.122, a mere 0.056 seconds ahead of Dutchman Charlie Frijns. Less than a second separated the top five Porsche 911 GT3s.
Cullen made a clean getaway and made the most of his pole position, although Frijns kept challenging throughout the race.
Ray Cullen fended off his assailant and snuck in for victory just 0.563 seconds ahead of Charlie Frijns, who finished 3.976 seconds ahead of Al Faisal Al Zubair in third.
Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East will hold their second race on Saturday.
Formula Gulf Academy
Australian Jordan Oon was unstoppable on the day, taking top accolades in Qualifying and then going from pole to victory in Race One.
Championship leader Alex Karkosik did his best to unseat Oon from the frontrunner position but had to settle for second place, only 0.177 seconds behind the leader. Omar Gazzaz was right up there as well, shadowing Alex by 0.708 seconds to take third.
Formula Gulf Academy will have another round of racing on Saturday.