Wednesday, February 20, 2019

CRC Calendar 2018/2019

CRC Testing Friday, October 5, 2018
CRC Round 1 Friday, October 12, 2018
CRC Round 2 Friday, November 2, 2018
CRC Round 3

Round 3:  Friday, December 7, 2018

CRC Round 4

Round 4:  Friday, January 11, 2019

CRC Round 5

Round 5:  Friday, February 1, 2019

CRC Round 6

Round 6:  Friday, March 8, 2019

CRC Round 7

Round 7:  Friday, April 26, 2019

CRC Spare  Friday, May 3, 2019

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Flawless performances and double 1-2 victory for brothers Shaikh Hamad and Shaikh Salman

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The 6th round of the Batelco 2000cc Challenge got off to a rip roaring start earlier today when seven local drivers took to the track in a variety of 2.0 litre engine cars to claim as many points as possible as this year’s season progresses. With only 2 round remaining following the conclusion of the 6th round, the competitors will be eager to finish on the podium to maximize their chances of victory in the overall championship title.

Batelco 2000cc Challenge - Qualifying
Shaikh Hamad Al Khalifa finished more than one second ahead of the pack following a flawless qualifying performance in his Honda Civic, completing the technical desert track in 1:16.528. Mustafa Al Khan narrowly beat out Shaikh Jaber Al Khalifa by a mere five milliseconds with a time of 1:17.652 to claim the second spot on the starting grid. Raed Himmo’s qualifying time of 1:18.150 put his Honda CRX behind Al Khan’s Honda Civic to start in fourth, while Shaikh Salman Al Khalifa assumed the fifth spot after completing the qualifying session in 1.18:241. A. Rahman Ghuloom and Peter Turney made up the back of the starting grid in sixth and seventh place.

Batelco 2000cc Challenge - Race 1
With Shaikh Hamad and Al Khan both determined to take the lead from the green light it was an adrenaline filled start to race one of the 6th round as the Batelco 2000cc Challenge lined up on the starting grid. From the get go Shaikh Hamad burnt rubber to take the lead as Al Khan struggled to overcome a technical malfunction with his first gear, resulting in a slow start for the driver. While the rest of the pack slowed to take the first turn, a determined Shaikh Hamad accelerated into the inner corner to narrowly beat out Al Khan, who also blistered around turn one in a cloud of white smoke due to some aggressive breaking.  However, just as Al Khan sped bumper to bumper with leader Shaikh Hamad, a violent turn resulted in a spin out and left a frustrated Al Khan in the gravel as Shaikh Salman and Shaikh Jaber sped by in pursuit of Shaikh Hamad, leaving Al Khan to watch from the side of the track. But a determined Al Khan managed to wrestle his Honda Civic back on track to assume fourth and began to follow the trio.  

While Shaikh Hamad began to pull away from the pack with some talented driving, Shaikh Salman fought off Shaikh Jaber to hold on to 2nd place as the two drivers battled it out, separated by mere inches of space as they blistered around the circuit. A resolute Al Khan drove aggressively to catch up with the front of the group to make up for his earlier mistake which cost him 2nd place. With Shaikh Jaber entering turn four on the outside of the track, Al Khan slipped in front in a brilliant display of driving.  

With only four laps remaining Shaikh Salman and Al Khan were bumper to bumper, but a cool headed Shaikh Salman managed to fight off Al Khan’s attempts to overtake. As the race entered its final lap Al Khan overshot the final turn and was forced to break hard to avoid going into the gravel yet again, sustaining tyre damage in the process and giving Shaikh Salman valuable seconds and a chance to break away. With the cars now separated by several seconds, a victorious Shaikh Hamad clinched the checkered flag in 19:40.515 and was followed by Shaikh Salman five seconds later who finished with a time of 19:45.454. Mustafa Al Khan crossed the finish line to claim the final podium place in 19:46.679.

Following the race, a victorious Shaikh Hamad stated, “I went into the race looking for the win and everything went according to plan. This season I have had several DNF and it has affected my placing so this win will help me catch up. Hopefully I will be able to keep performing to this standard and claim more first place finishes in the remaining five races, but it will be a challenge as I am sure the other drivers will be making adjustments to their cars to maximize their performances. I want to thank Zspeed for their constant commitment and determination to get the car to performance to such a high standard. Congratulations to my brother Shaikh Salman for a stellar performance!”
A happy Shaikh Salman added, “it was an amazing race and I am very happy with my performance after starting in fourth and working my way up to second. It was a challenge to fight off Al Khan and he pressed me hard but I managed to hold him off. It is an excellent start to round six and hopefully race two will be very similar.

Third place finisher Al Khan commented, “While my second place start on the grid was good, I suffered gear problems and had to start in second gear to try and get some torque out of the car. On turn one I ended up breaking on the sand and spun off and lost several places. After that I decided to do as well as I could even though the car was not in optimum condition. After I passed Shaikh Jaber I was looking for an opportunity to pass Shaikh Salman but he made no mistakes and drove very well. The second race will be difficult as my first gear is malfunctioning and the tight corners will be quite difficult to handle. Still, there are five races left and plenty of points to win!”

Batelco 2000cc Challenge - Race 2
The second race of the round was filled with action from the very start as Al Khan blistered into the lead despite suffering problems with his first gear. He was followed by Shaikh Jaber, Ghuloom, Shaikh Salman and Shaikh Hamad who were all neck and neck as none of the drivers would relent. Filling the track from one side to the other, the competitors dangerously sped around turn one before Shaikh Hamad managed to pull in front after almost losing control of his car due to locking his breaks. From his second place Shaikh Hamad was quick to gain on Al Khan’s damaged car which was struggling around the corners, before edging him out just before the main straight. It was not long before Shaikh Hamad had established a significant lead, leaving the rest of the pack to fight over second place.
While Al Khan’s Honda Civic managed to pull away from third place Shaikh Jaber on the straights, he lost valuable seconds on the technical turns, allowing Shaikh Jaber to quickly threaten his second place. The action was momentarily interrupted as the blue flag was waved, forcing Turney to the outside of the track as the more competitive cars sped past. However, it was not long before the pack found itself once again bumper to bumper as Al Khan led Shaikh Jaber and Shaikh Salman around the circuit. Shaikh Jaber had to relinquish his aggressive overtaking attempts to fight off Shaikh Salman, who had caught up with him and was threatening to pass as the two hurtled around turn 4 and 5. An unlucky Shaikh Jaber found himself the subject of Shaikh Salman’s skillful overtaking ability and was soon behind the number 10 car.  
Continuing his flawless performance,  Shaikh Salman strategically took advantage of the slip stream behind Al Khan as he prepared to pass yet another competitor. As the two blistered down the main straight, Shaikh Salman quickly weaved to Al Khan’s side as they sped neck and neck towards turn 1. However it was Shaikh Salman who had the advantage as he found himself on the inside of the turn and skillfully assumed 2nd place as he hugged the corner to beat out his rival.   
The action continued to heat up as Al Khan and Shaikh Salman continued their duel as they entered turn 2 and 3, resulting in the two Hondas almost colliding before Shaikh Salman secured his position in front of a frustrated Al Khan. It was not long before Al Khan had a new problem to worry about as Shaikh Jaber attempted to take advantage of Al Khan’s inability to gather speed on the turns due to a gear malfunction. Both drivers reached high velocities on the approach to turn 1, with Shaikh Jaber skidding wildly before wrestling his car under control, while Al Khan locked his breaks and disappeared in a cloud of white smoke as he burnt rubber in an attempt to stay on track. While Shaikh Jaber briefly assumed 3rd on the final lap, it was not long before be dove into the pits as his car continued to skid around the track, suggesting additional tyre damage and possible engine problems.
As the final turn approached, Al Khan attempted to push every last drop of power out of his damaged car in an attempt to claim the final podium position, but a strategic maneuver by Himmo resulted in the two drivers finding themselves neck and neck as the finish line approached. It was Himmo’s number 55 car that ultimately was victorious as Al Khan’s car failed to find enough power to keep up with him.
Following his double victory, an extremely pleased Shaikh Hamad commented, “It was the perfect day. Practice, qualifying and both races went very well and I could not be happier. If we can keep this kind of performance up in the next round then it will be the perfect end to the season.”
Shaikh Hamad was joined on the podium by his brother and fellow team member Shaikh Salman, who stated, “You can’t beat a 1-2 win! Both mine and Shaikh Hamad’s cars performed beautifully today and I really need to thank Zspeed for all their hard work and diligent efforts. Everyone did a brilliant job today!”

In one of the most exciting moments of the race, Himmo managed to edge out Al Khan by mere inches on the very last turn. Himmo explained what exactly happened: “Al Khan was slowing down right after the turn and he was obviously struggling to get his car to accelerate. I found myself next to him right after the turn and put my foot down. I really was not sure who was going to cross first! I am happy with my performance today but I feel we can improve our tyre selection and also experienced several minor breaking problems. If we can fix these then next round will be an even better result.”