Dubai, UAE, 5 November 2018: Khalifa Al Qubaisi, Jordy Van Dort and Daniel Alves of VDR Racing delivered an important message to defending Nomad Class champion, Ghost Racing, with an emphatic opening round victory at Dubai Kartdrome on Sunday night (4 November) to kick off the Senior level campaign of the 2018-2019 season of the Emirates Schools Karting Championship (ESKC).
VDR Racing earned a trophy for the overall win in the 75-minute endurance race, as well as driver medals for Nomad Class, for teams with student drivers from different schools.
David Zandieh and Eliot Jones of Jumeirah College placed third overall, entitling the drivers to first-place medals in ESKC Class.
Growing from past success in the last three seasons, Ghost Racing expanded its driver line-up and it is now fielding two Nomad Class teams, with Ghost Racing 1 a heavy favourite in the quest for the championship. A total of 21 Senior teams lined up on the grid to compete in the first round of the season.
Sameer Mohideen and Samuel Garbutt of Ghost Racing 1 clocked in some impressive lap times during qualifying, with Samuel delivering a best lap of 1:11.486 as the time to beat.
Two teams rose to the challenge, with Thomas Raw of Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) Team 6 pipping Samuel’s time by just 0.017 seconds, followed by Khalifa Al Qubaisi of VDR Racing who lit up the timing screens with a 1:11.231 best lap scorcher to take pole position.
A single speedy lap is fine for qualifying, but it takes teamwork, consistency and smart pit strategy to compete well in endurance kart racing. VDR Racing had 75 minutes to prove itself against other great veteran teams such as Ghost Racing 1 and 2, Jumeirah College, DESC Team 6 and Swiss International Scientific Dubai (SISD) Senior.
Spearheaded by ultra-quick Al Qubaisi, VDR did not disappoint. He explained, “We got away on the first lap and then we managed to keep the pace.”
Lap after lap, VDR Racing kept control of the race and mastered the pit stops with precision.
Daniel Alves of VDR Racing said, “We had no mistakes, nothing setting us back.”
After 75 minutes and 59 laps on the International Circuit at Dubai Kartdrome, Al Qubaisi crossed the finish line to take the chequered flag for VDR Racing, a full 42.604 seconds ahead of Ghost Racing 1. Jumeirah College claimed third, which was good enough to place first in ESKC Class, ahead of DESC Team 6.
Fastest lap of the day belonged to Khalifa Al Qubaisi, who managed an incredible 1:09.944 on the penultimate lap of the race, the only driver to drop below the 1:10 mark.
Last season VDR Racing finished runner-up to Ghost Racing in the Nomad Championship, so the drivers are now energised and looking forward to the next round.
On the winner’s podium Daniel Alves of VDR Racing remarked, “We’ll try to make this a repeat occasion.”
ESKC Senior Round Two will take place at Dubai Kartdrome on Sunday, 9 December 2018.
Report & Photos: Aaron Meriwether