Dubai, UAE, 21 April 2019: The Emirates Group Karting Club (EGKC) has fielded heavyweight contenders in the Corporate rankings of the Dubai Kartdrome Endurance Championship since 2012, producing championship winning teams in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Now the organisation has set its sights on a maiden Pro Title, having defeated the reigning Pro champ, Bin Drai Karting Team, in the opening round of this year (1-2 March).
Ahead of Round Two next weekend (26-27 April) EGKC Team Principal Redza Jamil said, “Over the years we’ve been approached by pro drivers wanting to drive for the team. And the opportunity came to put up a very strong team to challenge for the top position at the Dubai Kartdrome Endurance Championship, which is a big goal for the Emirates Group Karting Club.”
Veteran drivers Ramaldo Labrooy and Ramez Azzam joined Emirates Racing for 2019 to bolster a squad that already includes the talents of Mohammad Mattar and captain Arjun Manjunath.
The fresh team immediately achieved success by edging out the 2018 champion, Bin Drai Karting Team, by just 41 seconds after 12 hours of endurance racing in the first round.
Jamil remarked, “It’s a team effort. The drivers did their job on track and the tireless pit crew made sure that the pitstops were on point. The managers did a great job overseeing the effort too.”
Emirates Racing may have snuck in the first punch, but expect retaliation in Round Two from a very formidable Bin Drai Karting Team that went four-for-four in 2018 on its way to claiming its first Pro Title. Drivers Andre Caido, Miquel Neto, Pedja Jakovljevic and captain Duarte Lopes have proven they are more than capable to sustain a successful campaign over four arduous rounds.
The Emirates Group Karting Club achieved overall glory in Round One but slipped in its defense of the Corporate Crown; the all-Russian outfit of LD Russia finished a full lap ahead of the defending Corporate Champion, Team Emirates.
Dmitriy Levin, Konstantin Mandrikov and Viktor Agafonov of LD Russia already have two Nations Cup titles (2016, 2018) as part of the team’s pedigree, and the Russian drivers are keen to nab the 2019 Corporate Championship Trophy as well.
When asked about the Russian threat to Team Emirates, Jamil said, “We love the competition. That’s what we’re here for. We’re here to push ourselves and our own personal limits. And we do it as a team.”
In addition to the favourites, Emirates Racing, Team Emirates, Bin Drai Karting Team and LD Russia, also look out for upcoming contender Cambridge Middle East Interiors, a squad that routinely challenges the established order but has yet to claim an overall victory.
Round Two of the Dubai Endurance Championship kicks off at 13.00 on Friday, 26 April and will run for 600 laps on the Switchback with Double Bus Stop Circuit at Dubai Kartdrome, with the chequered flag followed by prize giving at approximately 01.00 on Saturday, 27 April.
Report: Aaron Meriwether
Photo/Graphics: Arthur Rosales and Aaron Meriwether