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Azzam shines in Dubai race

BATELCO Racing Team ace Ramez Azzam was among the stars of the second round of the 2013 SWS Ramadan Challenge on a hot Monday night at Dubai Kartdrome.

Azzam scored one victory from a possible two races.

Azzam signalled his intent early as he scorched to pole position in qualifying with the likes of Saeed Al Mehairi, Ali Al Mansoori, Atef Al Barwani, Mohammed Al Mutawaa, Sam Zian, Mohammed Al Ghurair, Ali Al Najjar, Abdul Basit and Aanas Al Halani chasing hard.

The top 10 were separated by less than a second and the top twenty 20 were covered by two seconds - indicating the quality of the field assembled for the race.

Azzam and Al Mehairi made a clean start in race one as the field behind them slugged it out, with common scenes of five or six karts side-by-side heading into corners as positions changed at just about every braking point.

At the front, the leading pair circulated as if glued together, with Al Mehairi stalking Azzam and waiting for a mistake or a tiny opportunity to strike. But this never materialised as Azzam gave a faultless performance on his way to maximum points, with Al Mehairi a mere 0.198 seconds adrift.

Azam spoke afterwards: "It was really close; I could hear him behind me throughout the race. Every lap was like a qualifying lap. I managed to get a small gap towards the end, then on the final lap he got really close but somehow I managed to stay ahead. It is always nice to win against such a strong field."

Behind them Al Mutawaa was third after fending off Sam Zian and Al Barwani who crossed the line fourth and fifth, respectively. Al Najjar finished sixth, managing to hold off Al Mansoori who was seventh. Al Halabi was eighth, ahead of Craig Shenton in ninth and Abdulla Al Ali rounding out the top 10.

Race two was a reverse order grid, which saw the top two in race one start from the last row on the 15-row grid.

When it mattered Al Mehairi, produced one of his best displays in SWS sprint racing, as he scythed through the field, making no mistakes as he picked off 29 rivals on his way to the lead, which he took on lap nine of the 12 lap race. It was a masterful display that deserved the maximum points he received when the chequered flag waved to end the race.

Second place in race two went to Ben Corby, his first podium in SWS racing, while Azzam was third, also having started from the last row of the grid and making his way through the field.

The third round of the SWS Ramadan Challenge takes place at the Indoor Kartdrome on Monday, with the fourth and final round scheduled for August 5 on the outdoor track.

Points scored in these four rounds of the SWS Ramadan Challenge count towards SWS global rankings, whereby the top drivers in the UAE will qualify to contest the SWS World Finals at the end of the season.



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