x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Sheikh Khalid believes more to come at Rotax Max finals

Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa believes he will go even quicker in the second set of heats at the Rotax Max Challenge finals in Al Ain

Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa is confident there is even more speed to come from him after an encouraging opening day of qualifying heat races at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals at Al Ain Raceway yesterday.

The Emirati finished 23rd in his first race in the DD2 class, before improving with a competitive run to 15th place in his second race, boosting his chances of qualifying for tomorrow's final.

Before that he has more qualifying heat races today, but he said: "I am sure I will do much better …

"I have had to deal with a lot of problems in my kart but were able to improve things and I was a lot better in the second race, and we have a couple more changes still to be made which should make me even quicker."

Sheikh Khalid, 24, made up some positions in the first race, but was frustrated with his kart, and made adjustments to the kart's calibrator and also altered tyre pressures in an attempt to improve performance and that worked.

"I was very pleased," he added.

The qualifying heats are designed to help decide who will qualify for the final of each of the four kart categories.

Mohammed Al Dhaheri, also competing in the DD2 category, finished 27th and 15th in his two races yesterday as he celebrated his 25th birthday.

Patrick Jarjour, who had been scheduled to race in the Senior Max, moved over to DD2, and finished 26th in his sole race of the day,

Elsewhere in the UAE team, Abdullah Al Rawahi made a big improvement in his second race after a disappointing result in his opening Junior Max race.

He finished down in 33rd place in the opening race, but bounced back with a strong run to 12th in the afternoon race.

His older brother, Sanad, was also on impressive form as he took eighth in his sole Senior Max race of the day.

Maurits Knopjes and Arnaud Bouf put in a competitive showing in the DD2 Masters category, finishing 11th and 12th in their last heat of the day.

The UAE's ranks have been bolstered this weekend by the addition of four other drivers racing under their name.

With not everyone invited to compete in Al Ain having shown up to race, the UAE, as the host nation of the event, were given the chance to fill spaces in the entrants list.

Luc Bauwmans and Andrew Fuller are competing in the DD2 Masters category, Nikita Miliakov is in the Senior Max, and Ali Hussein is taking part in DD2.

The action today at the track begins at 8.45am with warm-up sessions for all the drivers, before more qualifying heat races take place from 11.05am.

gcaygill@thenational.ae