SWS SENIOR CUP TRIUMPH FOR AL MEHAIRI AT DUBAI KARTDROME
Two class victories in a row for Renner and Eelma
Dubai, UAE, 21 February 2017: Emirati racer Saeed Al Mehairi put on a near flawless display of driving on his way to a karting hat trick, securing pole position and two Senior Cup race wins at the Sodi World Series (SWS) Sprint Round at Dubai Kartdrome on Monday night (20 February). Heiki Eelma grabbed his second Master Cup victory in a row and Alexander Renner did likewise in the Junior Cup category.
Saeed Al Mehairi was part of the Batelco Racing Drag965 team that claimed victory in the first round of the Endurance Championship a week ago, and that winning momentum is still with him.
Al Mehairi put in a best qualifying lap time of 1:11.018, which was just enough to come out on top of close session where the next seven drivers were all within a second of his time. With a best lap of 1:11.452, Anjum Shaikh was a mere 0.434 seconds off the mark, and another tenth of second down was Atef Al Barwani to take third on the grid.
In the ensuing two SWS Senior Cup races Al Mehairi produced a masterclass performance, controlling the thirty kart grid with precision. A gang of four, comprised of Ahmed Al Hammadi, Anjum Shaikh, Romaldo Labrooy and Abigail Birch, sat right on Saeed’s back bumper in both contests, pressuring the frontrunner to make a mistake.
That mistake never happened. Whenever a driver managed to pass Al Mehairi, he took the position right back and kept command of the pack. In Race One he crossed the finish line just 0.732 seconds ahead of Al Hammadi and in Race Two Al Mehairi again seized victory by a narrow margin, only 0.367 seconds in front of Labrooy.
When the points of the two SWS Senior Cup races were computed, Saeed Al Mehairi was the clear winner on the night, with Ahmed Al Hammadi securing second place and Romaldo Labrooy taking third.
In the midst of battle Al Mehairi was so focused he was surprised when racing finished. He said, “You’re excited, just pushing to the limit every time and then the time goes really fast. Then you realize, oh, the chequered flag is out!”
Regarding his tough competition he added, “Any chance of even one small mistake and anyone can overtake.”
In the Masters category, for SWS Senior drivers 35 years or older, Heiki Eelma returned to the top step of podium for his second victory in a row. Second place silverware went to Damian Hehir and third place for Kelly Fergal.
It was also repeat success for Alexander Renner in the SWS Junior Cup category. Just two weeks ago he bagged his maiden SWS win and now the rising star has proven that it wasn’t a chance event.
Renner started well early on, earning pole position in qualifying with a best lap time of 1:20.572, the only driver to dip below the 1:21 mark.
He took full advantage of the starter position in Race One going all of the way for the win, despite fierce opposition from Kyle Kumaran and Iya Seys. Renner crossed the finish line only 0.261 seconds ahead of Kumaran, while Seys was another 0.284 seconds behind in third.
Alexander did well in Race Two but it was not enough for victory, as Zaid Haddad took the lead and also the chequered flag, by just 0.180 seconds. Renner secured second place and again Seys had to settle for third.
After the points were tallied, Alexander Renner was declared SWS Junior Cup winner on the night with 76 points, with Zaid Haddad claiming second on 71 points and Kyle Kumaran barely nabbing third place with 67 points, pipping Iya Seys by a single point.
Renner commented, “It was great winning twice in a row again and I am very happy about the outcome. Thanks for all the people whom have supported me this year such as EBC Brakes, Formula, ARMotors and my parents of course.”
The next SWS Sprint Race night will take place on Monday, 13 March 2017.
Report & Photos: Aaron Meriwether