SENIOR CUP VICTORY FOR ALI
Ismail prevails in Masters
Al Azhari brothers make Junior Cup history
Dubai, UAE, 13 June 2017: Each round of the 2017 Sodi World Series (SWS) Ramadan Challenge has witnessed a different winner in all three race categories. On Monday night (12 June) at Dubai Kartdrome, Hussain Umid Ali joined the ranks as the latest Senior Cup victor, Mohammed Ismail got his first Masters win and Keanu Al Azhari seized control of the Junior Cup.
Senior Cup & Masters
Emirati drivers dominated Round Three with Hussain Umid Ali having a near perfect night to take the Senior Cup and defending Masters champion Mohammed Ismail returning to top form with consistent finishes.
Hussain Umid Ali signalled his intent early on, topping the qualifying session with a best lap time of 1:12.330. He then went from pole to chequered flag in Race One, taking the win by 0.144 seconds over Ahmed Al Hammadi. Atef Al Barwani chased behind to nab third.
Race Two featured a reverse grid of the top fifteen drivers from Race One, putting Ali down in fifteenth on the grid to start. Undeterred, the Emirati worked his way up the pack and made a charge for the lead.
Anjum Shaikh also had a great run, rocketing from twelfth on the grid all of the way up into the frontrunner position. He held on to claim victory, crossing the finish line just 0.188 seconds ahead of Ali. Romaldo Labrooy was another 0.360 seconds back to take third place.
Hussain Umid Ali claimed the Senior Cup for the night, with Anjum Shaikh taking home second place silverware and Romaldo Labrooy settling for third.
Afterwards Ali remarked, “The SWS World Finals in Paris last month was a great experience which helped me achieve valuable results tonight. The racing here is good fun and I’d like to thank Dubai Kartdrome for hosting this fantastic series.”
Defending Senior Cup champion, Rami Azzam, was forced to retire from the competition due to a hand injury sustained during a practice session. That leaves the 2017 title chase wide open, with Atef Al Barwani at the top of the leaderboard with 130 championship points. He has a six point gap on Romaldo Labrooy, sitting in second place with 124 points. Samuel Garbutt is in third position on 112.
In the Masters category, Mohammed Ismail got his first class win of the competition and is now in control to defend his title going into the last round. Heiki Eelma claimed second place on the night and Dario Rubio acquired third.
After three rounds Mohammed Ismail leads the Masters championship on 89 points. Dario Rubio sits in second place with 78 points and Charles Dexter is currently in third with 68 points.
Keanu, Enzo and Adam Al Azhari have been serious contenders throughout the Ramadan Challenge this year, but in the first two rounds the brothers have been denied the top step of the podium. For Round Three they claimed the entire podium for their own, with Keanu taking top honours and the championship lead.
The night didn’t start as planned for the Al Azhari brothers, as Federico Rifai was the top qualifier with a best lap time of 1:20.084, pipping Enzo Al Azhari by 0.416 seconds. Adam secured third on the grid while Keanu was way down the field in thirteenth.
Race pace is where it really matters, and in Race One the Al Azhari brothers soon took over the contest with all three vying for the lead. Enzo maintained his excellent track position to hold on for the win, just 0.245 seconds ahead of Adam. Keanu had an astonishing run through the pack to move up ten places and claim third.
Race Two featured a reverse grid for the top ten finishers of Race One, which put Keanu Al Azhari down in eighth to start. Again he stormed through the field, this time battling with Kyle Kumaran for the lead. Al Azhari got passed but took the position right back, continuing on to take the chequered flag 0.331 seconds ahead of Kumaran. Hugo Gid trailed in for third and Adam Al Azhari in fourth.
After points for both races were tallied for the night, the Al Azhari brothers had made SWS history at Dubai Kartdrome by completing the first all-sibling sweep of the Junior Cup podium, with Keanu taking the top step, Enzo in second and Adam collecting third.
After three rounds, the brothers have also taken over the championship standings. Keanu is in firm control with 142 championship points, with Enzo in second on 129 points and Adam shoring up third with 117 points.
Alex Wareing is in fourth place on 114 points and may be the only driver able to spoil an all-Al Azhari party for the fourth and final round.
The final round of the 2017 Ramadan Challenge takes place at Dubai Kartdrome on Monday evening, 19 June 2017.
Report & Photos: Aaron Meriwether