Your UAE weekend: Dubai Kartdrome Endurance Day 1
The first thrilling round of the new format Dubai Kartdrome Endurance Championship hits MotorCity this weekend and karting fans can expect a massive battle for top honours, with reigning champions Batelco opting not to compete this year.
The stage is consequently set for a hard-fought battle to claim the vacant title, and you won’t want to miss it, particularly as it will set the tone for remaining three rounds of the 2013 Championship driven by MINI.
A host of new teams will be on the grid Friday, but the one which has grabbed attention is the CG Pro team led by former world karting champion and FIA GT champion David Terrien partnered with Alban Varruti, the Azzam brothers Rami and Ramez and ace junior karter Piers Pakenham-Walsh.
On paper they are hot contenders for the top step of the podium despite never having raced together as a team.
Local interest, meanwhile, will focus on all-Emirati Dubai Falcons Racing team who will once again be led by Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum with Saeed Al Mehairi and Mohammed Al Mutawaa on duty for a squad who know their way around the Kartdrome and will therefore feel that the title is theirs by right.
The Kartdrome Endurance Challenge, run since 2004, is a mainstay of the UAE motorsport calendar. The event has been dubbed as “extreme racing” – as tough as it gets and requires stamina, concentration, speed, consistency and probably most importantly teamwork – all this under the duress of hard-fought competition over a 24 or 12-hour period.
The objective is to provide new challenges to teams and create a competitive environment for teams to race at the highest level with the emphasis is on attracting a mix of pro, semi-pro and corporate teams to the series.
Dubai Autodrome chairman Ali Fardan Al Fardan said: “I look forward to seeing the battle develop between the leading teams to become champions this year.
“It is going to be a tough contest as the standard among the teams and drivers is higher than has ever been, with the talent spread across the top teams. “I wish all the teams and their drivers the best of luck, and may the best teams win when the chequered flag drops.”
On track action at the Kartdrome on Friday starts at 11.40 am with Free Practice, followed by qualifying at 12.55pm, with the UAE national flag set to wave off the field at 2pm, so make sure to be around to cheer them off.
Then, at 2am on Saturday morning the chequered flag will drop to bring the race to an end. Yep, that’s 12 hours of constant karting so prepare for a bit of a sleepover. Not to worry though, there is plenty more than just racing in store for spectators, who will receive free entry and easy access throughout the twelve hours, with food and refreshments available at the Kartdrome, as well as across the road at a myriad of eateries on the MotorCity Bouelvard.
Whatsmore, as MINI have renewed its partnership with the Kartdrome and will be the title sponsor for a second year running, this gives fans the added opportunity of test driving their range of cars throughout each of the endurance events there.
WHAT: The Dubai Kartdrome Endurance Championship (Round 1, 12-hour).
WHEN: Friday, 15th – Saturday, 16th March; main race starts at 2pm and the first finishers should roll in at 2am on Saturday.
WHERE: Dubai Autodrome, MotorCity. Cost : Free for spectators of all ages.
Sport360° VERDICT: A chance to experience 12 hours of non-stop top class karting.
CONTACT: 04 367 8744; www.dubaiautodrome. com