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2019 Dubai Endurance Championship RD1

Dubai, UAE, 2 March 2019:  Bin Drai Karting Team fell short of their Pro title defense by just 41 seconds following a full twelve hours of racing in the early morning hours on Saturday.  Emirates Racing, with drivers Arjun Manjunath, Mohammad Mattar, Romaldo Labrooy and Ramez Azzam, made full use of pole position and held off last year’s champs to take a first round victory in the 2019 Dubai Endurance Championship.

Super squad: Emirates. Photo: Arthur Rosales
Super squad: Emirates. Photo: Arthur Rosales

 

Despite the early advantage held by the newly-branded Emirates Racing squad, it looked as though veteran drivers Duarte Lopes, Andre Caiado, Miguel Neto and Pedja Jakovljevic would do what Bin Drai Karting Team does best: combine pure speed with a calculated mid-race strategy to conjure up another win

Indeed, Bin Drai Karting Team, as well as LD Russia and Cambridge Middle East Interiors, manipulated pit stop strategy in attempt to leapfrog the frontrunners, temporarily taking control of the contest during the night.  It was not enough to derail Emirates Racing’s campaign.

Arjun Manjunath sealed the win for Emirates Racing. Photo: Arthur Rosales
Arjun Manjunath sealed the win for Emirates Racing. Photo: Arthur Rosales

 

Arjun Manjunath sealed the win for Emirates Racing at one in the morning, crossing the finish line after twelve hours and 539 laps of racing on the 1.28-kilometre Links Circuit at Dubai Kartdrome, just 41.647 seconds ahead of Bin Drai Karting Team, followed by LD Russia.

Win streak ended: Bin Drai Karting Team. Photo: Arthur Rosales
Win streak ended: Bin Drai Karting Team. Photo: Arthur Rosales

 

LD Russia had challenged for the overall lead and had dominated both the Corporate and Nations Cup categories throughout the contest.  The Russian crew won the Nations Cup title in 2018, and they will be looking to collect more silverware this year.

Challenging all categories: LD Russia. Photo: Aaron Meriwether
Moving on up: LD Russia. Photo: Aaron Meriwether

 

The defending Corporate champion, Team Emirates, missed out on victory for this round, but a P5 finish overall, second in class, will be enough to keep them in the running.

The all-Emirati squad of SABG Optimum placed second in the Nations Cup, but with a P11 finish overall, the team will need to improve to catch up with the pace of the Russians.

Star power: LD Russia. Photo: Arthur Rosales
Star power: LD Russia. Photo: Arthur Rosales

 

Click here for 2019 Dubai Endurance Championship RD1 Results

Winners Podium. Photo: Arthur Rosales
Winners Podium. Photo: Arthur Rosales

 

Dubai Kartdrome Manager David Bright remarked, “Congratulations to Emirates Racing for a remarkable win over the current champion, Bin Drai Karting Team.  Well done to all of the teams who braved the difficult weather conditions to complete the full twelve hours of racing.”

“Also, a special mention about the Spirit of Event winners, NGK Racing: not only did NGK Spark Plugs ME field a team for this endurance race, at the same time it was also busy with race activities at the main Dubai Autodrome track next door.  I applaud their great effort and enthusiasm!”

Spirit of the Event: NGK Racing. Photo: Aaron Meriwether
Spirit of the Event: NGK Racing. Photo: Aaron Meriwether

 

Top 3 Overall:

  1. Emirates Racing
  2. Bin Drai Karting Team
  3. LD Russia

Top 3 Pro:

  1. Emirates Racing
  2. Bin Drai Karting Team
  3. Cambridge Middle East Interiors

Top 3 Corporate:

  1. LD Russia
  2. Team Emirates
  3. Pride Russia

Top 3 Nations Cup:

  1. LD Russia (Russia)
  2. SABG Optimum (UAE)
  3. SLD Racing (Saudi Arabia)

Newbie Trophy:
Gond Team

Spirit of the Event Trophy:
NGK Racing

Fastest Lap:
Arjun Manjunath (1:12.284) of Emirates Racing

Pole Position:
Ramez Azzam of Emirates Racing

RaceRoom Challenge Fastest Lap:
Bader Mubarak (1:35.159, Chevrolet Camaro at Zandvoort 07)

Happy Birthday:
Marat Gubaidullin of Pride Russia

Round Two, featuring 600 laps on the Switchback With Double Bus Stop Circuit, will take place on 26-27 April 2019 at Dubai Kartdrome.

Report: Aaron Meriwether
Photos: Arthur Rosales and Aaron Meriwether

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