x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Costas Papantonis makes good start count at Yas Marina

Zuhour wins the second race in Touring Cars Championship in Abu Dhabi.

Costas Papantonis leads the pack in the first race at Yas Marina Circuit.
Costas Papantonis leads the pack in the first race at Yas Marina Circuit.

Costas Papantonis and the championship points leader Nader Zuhour each claimed a victory in the fifth round of the Total UAE Touring Car Championship at the Yas Marina Circuit yesterday.

In the first race, Papantonis, driving the Gulf Petrochem-backed SEAT Leon Supercopa, edged ahead as Ramzi Moutran and Zuhour battled for second.

The two were nose-to-tail until the penultimate lap, when Zuhour spun while chasing Moutran. The latter claimed second, and Zuhour recovered to finish third.

"It was an excellent race," Papantonis said. "I managed to get a good start and with the car going really well I was able to take the win. I am very happy."

In the second race, Zuhour, also driving a SEAT, bounced back to take the win from Papantonis, with Moutran third.

"It is good to win, especially after the first race," Zuhour said. "For me, the second race was pretty good, although I did make a couple of mistakes early on. But I managed to hold out to the finish and win. A good result for me."

In Class 2, the reigning champion Umair Khan took maximum points from both races in his Lap 57 Honda.

The absence of Aslam Moola and his Emirates Racing Team Honda made the day easier for Khan and dealt a major blow to Moola's title aspirations. "Not having Aslam here definitely made life easier," Khan said. "This is a good start to the second half of my season."

Nabil Moutran scored the best result in a Renault Clio to date in the championship when he powered to second place in the Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing-backed car and repeated the finish in the second race.

Moutran's two second places in Class 1 also earned him maximum points in the Clio Cup race within a race, ending Alexandros Annivas's winning streak.

The NGK UAE GT Championship, due to dwindling fields, was incorporated into the touring cars grid, and the Ferrari 458 Italia shared by Rob Barff and Leon Price took top honours. John Iossifidis and Yusif Basel won the GTC Class in the Gulf Racing Aston Martin.

* Agency