Dubai, UAE, 28 May 2019: Romaldo Labrooy clinched his second consecutive Senior Cup title in the fourth-round final of the 2019 Ramadan Challenge at Dubai Kartdrome on Monday night. Bernd Romischer delivered big in the last round to take his first Masters crown and Nathan Pope held off rivals for a maiden Junior Cup title.
Dubai Kartdrome David Bright said, “Thank you to sponsors IAME and Dojomoto Racing for providing a great range of prizes to attract top drivers this year, well done to Romaldo for defending his Senior Cup title and congratulations to Bernd and Nathan as first-time Ramadan Challenge champions!”
2019 Prizes Highlights:
- 4 drivers will make their debut into the UAE IAME X30 Championship thanks to IAME X30 UAE and Dojomoto Racing.
- Junior Cup Champion Nathan Pope received a fully funded race meeting in IAME Mini Cadet.
- Masters Champion Bernd Romischer received a fully funded race meeting with IAME next season in UAE IAME X30 Challenge.
- Senior Cup Champion Romaldo Labrooy will receive a fully funded drive from Dojomoto Racing in UAE IAME X30 Challenge.
- Highest placed Senior Cup driver (who has never raced in IAME X30 previously) Chris Edwards will receive a fully funded drive in Senior UAE X30 Challenge.
Ramadan Challenge Junior Highlights
Nathan Pope missed out on the winner’s podium in the final round, but a fourth-place finish was enough to claim the 2019 Ramadan Challenge Junior Championship over Yashish Manohar by just seven points.
Over the four rounds Pope earned one pole position, two victories and a total of 187 championship points to collect his first Junior title. Manohar (180 points) gave chase the entire series, even nabbing a victory in Round Two, but in the end had to settle for second-place silverware.
The initial series favourite, Federico Al Rifai (176 points), made up for earlier round struggles with three race victories in a row on Monday night to win the final round and take third-place in the Junior Championship.
Nathan Pope had also experienced victory earlier this year as part of the winning Emirates Schools Karting Championship (ESKC) squad, GEMS International School (GIS) Team 1, but the young driver had yet to win a championship for himself, until finally taking the Ramadan Challenge Junior crown.
Pope remarked, “This was my first individual win, so I’m really happy and I hope to go for the world finals next year if I can continue winning.”
As well as taking home the Junior championship trophy, Pope also won a AED 300 Dubai Autodrome gift voucher and a fully-funded drive in one round of the 2019-2020 IAME X30 Challenge.
Ramadan Challenge Senior & Master Highlights
Romaldo Labrooy was runner-up in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Ramadan Challenge, but since his first hard-fought Senior Cup title in 2018, the Sri Lankan driver now seems to possess all the confidence and skill to dominate this competition.
Labrooy was scarcely challenged over the four rounds this year; he racked up one pole position, two fastest laps and three victories on his way to collect 198 total championship points, successfully defending the Senior Cup title, well ahead of Anjum Shaikh (171 points) in second-place.
Maz Nawaz nabbed the last spot on the championship podium with 158 points.
The 2016 and 2017 Masters champion, Mohammed Ismail, was chasing class leader Bernd Romischer by just two points coming into the final round, but Romischer made sure to close the door on any challenges throughout the night.
Romischer topped Masters qualifying and went on for two class wins. He slipped up in the third race, finishing nine places below Ismail, but Bernd collected just enough points to hold on to the 2019 Masters title with a total of 116 championship points.
Ismail (112 points) made a good run at the end but was still four points shy of the championship leader, which earned him another second-place trophy to go with the one he got in 2018. Greg Watt secured third with a total of 94 points.
Along with trophies and bragging rights, the Senior Cup and Masters winners both received free entry into one round of the 2019-2020 IAME X30 Challenge.
Report: Aaron Meriwether
Photos: Aaron Meriwether and CK Designs