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Australian pair share honours

AUSTRALIANS Michael Patrizi and Tarek Elgammal shared the honours yesterday in round five of the Chevrolet Supercars Middle East Championship at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

The round was held in support of the inaugural 'Yas V8 400', which was the opening round of the 2010 V8 Supercars Australia Championship.

Patrizi, a former V8 Supercar driver, claimed a stunning victory in the weekend's second race after only his third appearance in an SC09. He took the chequered flag in 25 minutes 35.9210 seconds.

Earlier in the day, Elgammal won race one. Having started from pole position, he drove flawlessly to claim his second victory in a row this season in 25:33.3210. He had previously won race two of round four, held earlier this month at the UAE capital.

In yesterday's second race held in the afternoon, Abdulaziz Al Yaeesh of Saudi Arabia was the runner-up to Patrizi. Al Yaeesh finished in 25:38.5440. Defending champion Fahad Al Musalam of Bahrain claimed third place after a spectacular drive that saw him start from the back of the grid and finish on the podium in 25:39.7470.

The race saw an eventful start for the leaders, as Elgammal, who started from pole, collided with Bahraini Raed Raffii on the very first lap - an incident that dropped them all the way to the end of the 17-car field.

The collision caused confusion among the drivers trailing not far behind them, but it also created the golden opportunity for Patrizi and Al Yaeesh to pass and take the lead.

The pair maintained their position all the way to the end, and Patrizi grabbed his first victory of the Bahrain-based series on his debut weekend.

Al Musalam took the final podium spot after Mohammed Al Owais of the UAE made a crucial mistake late in the race that saw him lose control of his car and open the door for Al Musalam to overtake.

In the SC06 class, Bahraini teenager Ezra Idafar finally broke the season-long winning streak of his more experienced countryman Faisal Raffii, by taking first place in 26:26.1600. Faisal was second in 26:31.6920, while Hussam Al Saleh of Saudi Arabia was third in 26:50.4060.

Race one held yesterday morning saw Elgammal win ahead of Al Yaeesh, who finished not far behind in 25:39.2180. Third place went to Bahrain's Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who achieved his podium in 25:41.1530.

Al Yaeesh had a great getaway and he went from fourth to second quickly after the rolling start. Elgammal managed to escape comfortably with the lead, and left in his tracks the other drivers to fight each other for better positioning.

Al Musalam, who started from 10th, made some steady progress and managed to finish fifth.

In the SC06 category, Faisal was in first place. He finished in 26:25.3090 to register what was his eighth triumph in a row from nine events.

Alqassim Hamidaddin of Saudi Arabia was second in 26:31.6450, while his compatriot Al Saleh was third in 26:33.1790. Bandar Al Silmy, another Saudi driver, was fourth and Christophe Mariot from France fifth.

Meanwhile, Bahrain's Shaikh Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa finished second in race two of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East's fourth round, which was also supporting the V8 Supercars at Yas Marina this weekend.

Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal took another major step towards the title with an impressive victory.

Prince Abdulaziz increased his lead in the new one-make Porsche series to a massive 45 points, after his nearest challenger in the championship battle, cousin Prince Khalid Al Faisal, crashed out of yesterday's race.



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