|Batelco powered to an impressive win in the Motorcity 24 Hours at the Dubai Kartdrome to claim the prestigious 2011 Motorcity Endurance championship for the second year running.|
The team from Bahrain consisting of Alban Varutti, Isa Al Koheji, Ramez Azzam, Edward Jones and captain Mohammed Mattar made few mistakes during the course of the 24 hours, with manager Ali Abbas again making al the right calls when it mattered to ensure the team crossed the finish line with 1162 laps to their credit - four more than their closest rivals.
The fourth and final round of this year’s championship will be remembered for the intense three-way battle for most of the race as Batelco fend off a concerted challenge from Seychelles Racing and Dubai Falcons.
Early on the Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum led Dubai Falcons challenged strongly for the lead but gradually fell back as they became embroiled in a fierce battle with Seychelles Racing, who counted ex-Formula 2 champion Andy Soucek and ace lady kart racer Fabienne Lanz in their midst.
In the end the Seychelles team edged ahead to take second place overall and claim the prize for the best new team, with Dubai Falcons taking third place and finishing second in the overall championship.
Batelco manager Abbas described the key to success, “Firstly I want to thank Dubai Autodrome for putting on such a good race again, they assembled a strong field and it is very satisfying to win here again. We started with a strategy which we felt could win us the race and of course along the way we had to tweak it accordingly and I think that we made a good call during the full course yellow. Of course I have to thank the drivers and praise them for not making mistakes and sticking to the game plan.”
With the win came the championship honours, Abbas commented, “As I always say, we do this for Christophe [Hissette] who is with us always and this one is also for him.”
Abbas was referring to the late Christophe Hissette who was part of the Batelco team’s successes before he passed away.
Fourth overall, and missing out on the podium by a mere lap, were the Racing Steps from the United Kingdom made up of top young drivers such as James Colado and Oliver Rowland. Dubai based Ocean Rubber Racing Team crossed the line in fifth.
The other tense contest during the course of the 24 hours was the battle for Corporate honours between Publicis Groupe Racing (PGR) and CG Racing who have tussled for the top spot since the beginning of the year. CG Racing needed to win and hope that PGR finished out of the top two places in the corporate category.
CG Racing drafted in ex-karting world champion David Terrien and did the business by winning the corporate category on the day, but PGR crossed the line in second place which was enough to take the 2011 title.
Also in the hunt was CG Racing 2 who were assembled to assist CG Racing in their quest for the title. They finished third which in its own right was a huge success for a team to have two squads in the top three
Fourth in the Corporate category were MBC Action, followed home by ENOC racers in fifth.
PGR team manager Ronald Zouein said afterwards, “First I want to the thank the Kartdrome guys who have done a wonderful job. We came in with one objective to win the championship. We knew that CG racing had raised their game by getting a world champion in to train with the team and also drive. And kudos to them, a great team and they showed great style. Obviously we wanted to win but we knew second place was enough to win the championship and this we achieved. The tougher the mountain to climb the bigger the glory I guess. Today we did not win the battle and in the end we won the war!”
Thus ended the four round Motorcity Endurance Championship which consisted of four rounds during the course of 2011, including: two 24 hour races and two 12 hour races counting towards the final championship.
2011 Motorcity Endurance Champions
• Pro Category Batelco
• Corporate Category Publicis Groupe Racing
Results 24h Endurance Championship in Dubai