x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Racers endure rain pains at soggy NGK Enduro

Father-son team snap up opportunistic second-place finish

DUBAI // Tony Wells and James Littlejohn shared the driving in a Radical R8 to charge to an easy victory in the NGK Enduro at the Dubai Autodrome on Friday.

The duo completed 106 laps of the Club Circuit after rains forced organisers to shift the race, for safety reasons, to the shorter and tighter course from the National Circuit configuration.

Ron Barff and Jordan Gregor chased hard for nearly all of the race, in their Dragon Racing McLaren 12C GT Sprint, but a sure second-place finish evaporated when Barff coasted to a halt with an empty fuel tank two laps from the end.

“We managed to get a good start and thereafter controlled the pace,” Littlejohn said. “We were aware of the McLaren but knew we had the edge.

“It was good to win, especially as we were never quite sure if the rain would come or not.”

Second fell to the father and son team of Costas Papantonis and Alexandros Annivas in the Gulf Petrochem SEAT, who were competing in the enduro format for the first time.

“It was great fun as the combination of strategy, teamwork and driving to a set pace was a challenge,” Papantonis said. “Our first enduro together was most enjoyable, where we were up against some faster cars and had to be concentrating all the time.”

Scott Balsdon and Oliver Smith were third in the Radical SR3, an outcome that also gave them top spot in the Supersports Class of the Radical Middle East Cup.

Salman Al Khater drove the enduro on his own, in a Radical SR3, to take fourth.

Rain in the morning caused a delay as organisers waited for the track to dry out. One of the UAE Sportbike races was cancelled.

In the one Sportbike race that went ahead, run late in the afternoon, it was Abdulaziz Binladen who powered to victory about his Kawasaki, giving him three victories in as many races this season.

Gautam Mayilvaganan was second on a Yamaha, with Joe Oxley third. The reigning champion Mahmoud Tannir was fourth.

The opening two races of the Formula Gulf 1000 season were contested early in the day, and Natasha Seater of Malaysia won by a comfortable margin in each.