AL AIN // The battle between Mohammed al Dhaheri and Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa to be crowned champion of the DD2 class of the UAE Rotax Max Challenge will resume today in the fourth round of the series organised by the Al Ain Raceway Kart Club.
Al Dhaheri, the Al Ain-born driver, leads the 12-round championship after scoring maximum points in the first three races but Sheikh Khalid is mounting a serious challenge and with 100 points on offer in each race - 25 points for qualifying for the finals in first place and 75 for winning the final - he will be confident of closing the 43-point gap at the top.
The winner of this season's DD2 class will represent the UAE at the 2011 Rotax Grand Finals in November to be held at Al Ain Raceway.
Al Dhaheri and Sheikh Khalid look likely to dominate this season's class. The Emiratis finished first and second in last Friday's third round, with al Dhaheri returning in style from representing the UAE at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Italy by setting a lap record of 60.298 seconds, eclipsing his own previous best of 60.527.
The Junior Max class was an action-packed affair. Abdullah al Rawahi got a fair start from pole position but seemed slightly too concerned with covering Piers Pakenham-Walsh, who was starting second alongside him.
This allowed Ameer Hassan to take full advantage as he swooped around to take the lead.
However, drama was soon to unfold as, on the run down the home straight, al Rawahi used his slipstream advantage to emphatically close in on Hassan.
Al Rawahi raced at high speed up the inside into Turn 1 but struggled to get his kart to slow down on the dusty side of the track.
The resulting slow apex speed caught Hassan out and, with al Rawahi still winding on the steering lock to avoid running wide, Hassan clipped the back of his kart as he tried to regain advantage on the switch back.
This sent al Rawahi into a spin into the crash barriers. Pakenham-Walsh took full advantage of the collision between his rivals and swept past cleanly to take the lead and win the race.
Perry Spruit had a lucky escape in the Senior Max and Max Masters class.
After making an error exiting the last corner, he launched off the kerb and landed some 10 feet later, swerving laterally across the track and just missing five oncoming drivers.
The race was won by Edward Hones who lost the lead to Maurits Knopjes at the first corner but regained it on lap three and never looked like relinquishing it.
* With agency
DD2 Class positions after three rounds
1 Mohammed al Dhaheri 300 pts
2 Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa 257
3 Patrick Jarjour 206
4 Ali al Darmaki 169
5 Haytham al Ali 152
6 Hussein Umid Ali 126
7 Arnoud Bouf 102
8 Shibab al Fahim 32