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NGK UAE Touring Car Championship: RD6

Dubai, UAE, 2 March 2019: The Greek duo at GP Global/Mouhritsa Racing divided the spoils of victory in the sixth round of the NGK UAE Touring Car Championship (NGK UAE TCC) at Dubai Autodrome on Friday (1 March), with Costas Papantonis winning the first race and Alexandros Annivas securing the second.

Costas Papantonis of GP Global/Mouhritsa Racing. Photo: Aaron Meriwether
Costas Papantonis of GP Global/Mouhritsa Racing. Photo: Aaron Meriwether

 

Jonathan Mullan of ZRT Motorsport nabbed a pair of Class Two victories and French driver Pierre-Brice Mena of GP Extreme managed two sensational category wins over Renault Clio Cup championship leader Willie Morrison.

The NGK UAE TCC hosted two races which featured alongside a full weekend of racing, including the headliner series, Al Masaood National Motorcycle Championship, as well as the Gulf Radical Cup and the F4 UAE Championship.

NGK UAE TCC Round Six Highlights

Formidable weather conditions presented a barrage of wind, dust and rain on the 3.56-kilometre National Circuit at Dubai Autodrome, making it a challenging environment for all the drivers.

The TCR Cupra of Papantonis was hardly slowed by the weather; the GP Global/Mouhritsa Racing driver topped qualifying screens with a best lap time of 1:34.256, leaving his teammate Annivas to secure P2 in a Seat Leon Super Copa.

Challenging qualifying conditions: Alexandros Annivas. Photo: Aaron Meriwether
Tough qualifying conditions: Alexandros Annivas. Photo: Aaron Meriwether

 

Behind the Greeks the competition was fierce and Pierre-Brice Mena, in only his second NGK UAE TCC appearance, managed to beat out all eight Renault Clio Cup cars, as well as the Class 2 Honda Integra and Toyota TRD86, to line up in third position on the start gird.

Race one went according to plan for Costas Papantonis, driving well beyond the reach of the pack, but Alexandros Annivas dropped out with mechanical issues after 17 laps on track.

Jonathan Mullan pushed his ZRT Motorsport Honda Integra past the Clios and moved from fifth position up into second.

Willie Morrison of A-Tech DXB has finally met his match in the Renault Clio Cup Class powered by Renault Middle East; GP Extreme’s Pierre-Brice Mena lead the Clios and maintained third position overall despite repeated challenges from the Scottish driver.

Pierre-Brice Mena kept ahead of Willie Morrison. Photo: Aaron Meriwether
Pierre-Brice Mena kept ahead of Willie Morrison. Photo: Aaron Meriwether

 

Papantonis finished out the first race with over a minute to spare, leaving Mullan to pick up the scraps of second place, followed closely by Mena.

NGK UAE TCC Race 1 Podium. Photo: Aaron Meriwether
NGK UAE TCC Race 1 Podium. Photo: Aaron Meriwether

 

The fortunes of the two Greek drivers reversed in Race Two, with Papantonis experiencing engine problems and Annivas picking up the slack to take the lead.

For everyone else it was another intense contest, with Mullan’s Honda finding the swarm of Clio more difficult to dispatch in the second race.  Again Mena impressed, powering from eight position and into second place, with Willie Morrison and Jon Simmonds in hot pursuit.

The Seat of Alexandros Annivas took the chequered flag for overall and Class One honours.   Pierre-Brice Mena beat Morrison to the line to claim second-place silverware and Clio Cup bragging rights.  Mullan finished back in fifth place overall, but it was enough to top Class Two.

NGK UAE TCC Race 2 Podium. Photo: Aaron Meriwether
NGK UAE TCC Race 2 Podium. Photo: Aaron Meriwether

 

Click here for NGK UAE TCC RD6 Results

Clio Cup driver Wadih Farha started the day with a best lap time of 1:44.507 in qualifying, and by the end of the second race his best lap time had improved remarkedly to 1:41.968.  For his efforts the Lebanese driver from AUH Motorsports was awarded Airlink International Driver of the Day and presented with a prize of AED 1,000.

Airlink International Driver of the Day: Wadih Farha. Photo: Aaron Meriwether
Airlink International Driver of the Day: Wadih Farha. Photo: Aaron Meriwether

 

The seventh and final championship round of the NGK UAE Touring Car Championship will take place on Friday, 22 March 2019 at Dubai Autodrome.

Report and Photos: Aaron Meriwether

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