x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Sheikh Khalid closes in leader with victory in Al Ain

Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa boosted his hopes of winning the DD2 category of the UAE Rotax Max Challenge by claiming his first win in the championship at Al Ain Raceway.

Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa on his way to a first championship victory in Al Ain yesterday. 


Courtesy Willie Maglalang
Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa on his way to a first championship victory in Al Ain yesterday. Courtesy Willie Maglalang

Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa boosted his hopes of winning the DD2 category of the UAE Rotax Max Challenge yesterday by claiming his first win in the championship at Al Ain Raceway.

He came through to take the chequered flag first in the fourth round of the competition, ahead of Hussein Umid Ali and Patrick Jarjour, to close in on Mohammed al Dhaheri, the championship leader, in the points standings.

Sheikh Khalid was able to pull away as the 15-lap race unfolded, building his lead gradually. He finished more than 10 seconds clear of the pack, and it proved a perfect day for him

Al Dhaheri, last season's champion, is leading this year's race series after winning the first three events of the season. But he was sidelined from proceedings on the second lap yesterday as the rear axle on his kart failed.

Yesterday's result has now moved Sheikh Khalid up to a total of 354 points in the championships, 21 behind al Dhaheri's tally of 375.

Much is at stake in this season's 12-round championship: the winner will represent the UAE at the 2011 Grand Finals, to be held in Al Ain next November, where they will go up against the best drivers in the world in the DD2 class who won their domestic titles.

In other action yesterday, Piers Pakenham-Walsh and Oman Karting Team's Abdullah al Rawahi fought long and hard from lights to flag in the Junior MAX class.

The lead changed several times in the spirited race. Pakenham-Walsh took the victory only a slender 0.58secs clear of al Rawahi, with Ameer Hassan rounding off the podium positions.

The Senior MAX and Masters class - the busiest race of the day - produced the most entertaining finale of the campaign to date.

Edward Jones, Maurits Knopjes and Sanad al Rawahi led the pack from the start and battled wheel-to-wheel throughout the proceedings.

It was Jones who led when it mattered most, on the final lap, and he held on to take the top spot ahead of Knopjes and al Rawahi.

The next round of the respective series in the Rotax Challenge is on January 7, again in Al Ain.