x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Moutran surprised to win opening rounds of UAE Touring Car Championship

The Duel Racing Seat driver did not expect to beat the likes of Martin Johnson and Mohammed Al Owais.

Ramzi Moutran, a double winner in the UAE Touring Car Championship on Friday, expects the season to get more challenging.
Ramzi Moutran, a double winner in the UAE Touring Car Championship on Friday, expects the season to get more challenging.

DUBAI // Ramzi Moutran enjoyed double delight on Friday at Dubai Autodrome as he claimed victory in the opening two rounds of Class 1 in the UAE Touring Car Championship.

Moutran triumphed in his Duel Racing Seat car in what was part of the opening UAE National Raceday of the 2011/12 season.

The series this season has one of its strongest collections of driver talent, and Moutran acknowledged that he had not known how competitive he would be.

"The aim was to battle for the win and taking two victories is a bonus," he said. "There are some strong drivers in this championship and it's good to have two wins as I expect things to get tougher as the season develops."

In the first race, Martin Johnson, who has experience of competing in the British Touring Car Championship before coming to race in the UAE, had to start from the back of the grid in his Vauxhall Astra after problems in qualifying, but he made his way to second place at the finish with an impressive recovery drive.

Nader Zuhour, who had led early on until he "ran out of brakes" had to settle for third as he backed off in the closing stages to preserve his car.

In the second race, Mohammed Al Owais, the former UAE Touring Car champion, finished second behind Moutran in the Emirates Racing Team Seat, with Johnson finishing third to complete an impressive debut in the series.

Umair Khan, the reigning champion in the Class 2 category of the Touring Car series, made a winning start to his title defence and his quest for a third title.

He won the first race ahead of fellow Honda driver Aslam Moola, with the positions reversed in the second race as Moola crossed the line first.

Umair said: "It was good to start the season with a win. In the second race I had fuel starvation problems towards the end.

"But the goal is to win my third championship and our team are focused on that."

Khalid bin Hadher won the first Clio Cup race contested in the UAE and followed it with a runners-up performance in the second race in the Emirates Racing Team Renault. Alexandros Annivas won in the Mouhrista Racing Renault.

In the UAE Sportsbike Championship, Vendeta Racing teammates Alan Boyter and Mahmoud Tannor each claimed a victory on their Triumph bikes in the 600 Class.

In the 600 Rookie category, Chris Morley won both races on his Kawasaki, with Ian Wilcox and Richard Drake the respective runners-up in the two races.

With no opposition in the 1000 Class due to Abdulaziz Binladen being away, Gernot Dobida claimed an unchallenged victory in both races.

He said: "It is a shame that Abdulaziz is still racing abroad and not available for this round. Nevertheless I used this for practice and look forward to racing in a bigger field next time out."

The second UAE National Raceday of the season will be staged on October 21 at Dubai Autodrome.