Dubai, UAE, 22 January 2017: With 31 sponsor prizes on offer, 101 local and worldwide motorists were lured to object to the 2017 Dubai O Plate Karting Championship over the weekend break (20-21 January) at Dubai Kartdrome.
Leading karters battled it out over 2 days to identify O Plate champs in 9 groups, including Young child, Rotax Max Micro, Rotax Max Mini, IAME X30 Cadet, IAME X30 Junior, IAME X30 Senior, IAME X30 Masters, IAME X30 Shifter and IAME X30 Shifter Veterans.
The combined grid of IAME X30 Senior (ages 15 and older) and Masters (ages 30 and older), was the largest of the occasion and included some well-known names in the karting community.
F4 UAE motorist Sean Babington, winner of multiple British, European and world karting titles, was the course favourite, yet karting aces Abdullah Al Rawahi, and Mauricio Hernandez saw to it wasn't easy.
Babington, outfitted with an Energy Corse chassis, made pole position in the Pre-Finals over Tony Kart vehicle driver Tom Bundle. Babington made a wonderful escape to begin the Last Race and looked set to take the win up until an accident in the backfield halted the race with a warning.
When racing returned to, Babington came under stress and virtually surrendered the lead on several corners. As soon as he fought off the challengers and reclaimed control, Babington sailed in for the triumph, 0.901 seconds ahead of Abdullah Al Rawahi with Mauricio Hernandez asserting 3rd.
The fight for the IAME X30 Masters category was salaried within the very same race as Senior, and ruling champ Ali Al Najjar, likewise with Power Corse, took leading honours for the second year running. Dario Rubio settled for second place flatware while Nadia Khan earned third.
Young Emirati karting symbol Rashid Al Dhaheri was similarly a leading pressure on the weekend break. Driving a Tony Kart body, he made pole position in the IAME X30 (ages 10-12) Pre-Finals and went on to beat the field in the Final Race, taking the chequered flag nearly eight secs ahead of his closest rival, Ahmed Al Saadi for 2nd and Mohammed Al Habsi in third.
Al Dhaheri also set a Dubai O Plate record, taking leading honours on the podium four years in a row.
The future celebrities of karting shone intense in the Bambino class, for motorists aged 5 to eight. Abdul Whab Al Habsi, driving with Birel Art, was unstoppable throughout the occasion, topping 3 from 4 time trials and taking residence the honoured yellow O plate of Young child Champion. Freddie Housley was right in the mix and made adequate points in the 4 time tests to take residence the second place prize. Bertie Gibbons accumulated 3rd.
The auto racing was enclose the IAME X30 Junior group (ages 13 to 15), with the leading three motorists finishing with half a secondly of each other in the final race. Manaf Jaafar Hijjawi, piloting a Birel Art kart, went across the finish line first, just 0.249 seconds in advance of Vaskelis Kasparas that was very closely trailed by Denis Bahar to take 3rd.
Both Rotax Max courses were also carefully fought, with Energy Corse kart driver Diaraf Keinde catching the lead in the final two laps of the Rotax Max Micro (ages 7 to 10) Last, and holding on for the win by simply 0.949 seconds over Finn Morton. Alexander Renner routed in for 3rd.
With 3 laps to go in the Rotax Max Mini (ages 9-12) Last Race there was a broken heart spin for race leader Ziggy Kermanshahchi, which opened up the contest and permitted Theo Kekati, with DR Competing Kart, to jump in take victory. Kamal Agha and Ali Al Shamsi also benefitted, confiscating second and 3rd specifically.
The combined gear-shifter grid of IAME X30 Shifter (ages 15 and up) and IAME X30 Shifter Veterans (ages 35 and up) observed a chaotic start and the entire pack of vehicle drivers remained in tight formation throughout the majority of the race. A 10 2nd penalty on race leader Tom Bundle permitted Formula K motorist Frederic Op de Beeck to take triumph over Bundle. Matteo Orengo obtained 3rd. Alexandros Annivas endured the opening lap altercation to earn his Techno Kart for the IAME X30 Shifter Veterans O Plate.
All 2017 Dubai O Plate podium finishers won rewards, with the winners obtaining premium awards. Prizes consisted of an Energy entry into the IAME Grand Finals and World Championships, Mach1/Roos Motorsport entry into the Las vega Super Nationals, examination drives with F4 and Toyota TRD 86, Tag Heuer enjoys, GulfSport headgear paint tasks, Dubai Autodrome motorsport experiences and a choice of merchandise vouchers.
Dubai O Plate Race Director David Bright stated: "The O Plate has been growing organically over the last four years, exceeding each time. Over one hundred access this year was a landmark accomplishment.
" The yield was so successful due to the fantastic prizes that our sponsors brought to the table, many thanks to Power Dubai, Roo Motorsports, Mach1 U.S.A, Tag Heuer, GulfSport, Birel Art, OMP and IAME."
1. 2017 Dubai O Plate IAME X30 Senior Beginning
2. 2017 Dubai O Plate platform at Dubai Kartdrome