Dubai, UAE, 18 November 2019: Veteran teams flexed their muscle by demonstrating quick pace and well-drilled pit stops to dominate the opening round of the 2019-2020 Emirates Schools Karting Championship (ESKC) Senior season at Dubai Kartdrome on Monday night (18 November).
Jumeirah College Team 1, with experienced ESKC drivers Eliot Jones and David Zandieh, controlled the entire contest and led from pole to chequered flag to claim its first victory of the new season and start a title defense in the best possible way.
In the Nomad category, with drivers hailing from different schools, VDR Racing also found success as a defending champion, claiming P2 overall and beating out arch rival Ghost Racing Team 1 for the Nomad class win. VDR Racing retains the same driver line-up, with Khalifa Al Qubaisi, Jordy Van Dort and Daniel Alves, that delivered the team its first Nomad title last season.
Senior Round One Highlights
Twenty-one student teams converged on the 1.2-kilometre International Circuit at Dubai Kartdrome to challenge the first round of the new ESKC Senior season.
Eliot Jones got the party started early for Jumeirah College Team 1, clocking in a best lap time of 1:11.533 in qualifying to take top spot and set up pole position for the 75-minute endurance race.
Ghost Racing Team 1 was only 0.114 seconds off the leader’s pace to take P2 on the grid and in good position to avenge last season’s Nomad title loss to nemesis VDR Racing. Swiss Dubai Team lined up in third and GEMS Metropole Motorcity in fourth, while VDR had struggled in qualifying to find itself down in sixth position behind Ghost Racing Team 2.
Jones got a clean getaway to start the endurance race, immediately taking control of the contest for Jumeirah College Team 1. Stint after stint, Zandieh and Jones slowly and methodically built up a gap on the rest of the field.
Behind Jumeirah College Team 1, Ghost Racing Team 1 would soon struggle to maintain second position, while VDR Racing began to carve a path through the karts ahead to chase its Nomad rivals.
At the chequered flag Jumeirah College Team 1 made it look easy with Zandieh crossing the finish line a full 29.760 seconds ahead of the pack and over 38 seconds clear of the nearest ESKC class competitor, Swiss Dubai Team.
Challengers should be wary that the bar has been set high in the first round, as David Zandieh of Jumeirah College Team 1 remarked, “It was an easy race, honestly.”
As if that wasn’t bad enough news for rivals of Jumeirah College, Eliot Jones also claimed the Fastest Lap trophy with an untouchable lap time of 1:11.216.
Swiss Dubai Team, with drivers Enzo Al Azhari and Hakon Lees, did well to place fourth overall, but the team will need to up its game to take the ESKC fight to Jumeirah College in the next round.
VDR Racing managed to overtake Ghost Racing Team 1 and sail home for second place overall and first in Nomad class. Past seasons have witnessed classic battles between these two teams and the struggle looks to continue into the new season.
Ghost Racing Team 1, with drivers Samuel Garbutt and Mateo Moussaoui, managed a respectable third-place finish overall, but the team will surely not be satisfied until toppling its Nomad foe in the coming rounds.
Report & Photos: Aaron Meriwether