Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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Titans clash through wind and rain at Batelco 2000CC

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The Batelco 2000CC Challenge witnessed the fiercest battle of all this weekend as drivers showed no relent, through wind and rain, as they fought for top positions in the penultimate round of the season.

During the practice sessions, 16 cars were seen hitting the track for the first time ever, with more expected but three resulted in no-shows. Mustafa Al Khan showed a promising starts as he logged the fastest lap time this morning with a time of 1:20.146 minutes followed by first-time joiner, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, in his Honda Civic, with a 0.082-second difference. Meanwhile, Mohammed Saleh took third with a time of 1:21.531 minutes. Saleh had the misfortune of having his car breakdown only to have it later replaced by team-mate Shaikh Salman who offered his car to continue the team’s fight for a top position.

The qualifier saw Shaikh Jaber bin Ali Al Khalifa already warmed up as he got the fastest lap time of 1:18.307 minutes followed closely by Mohammed Saleh with 1:19.825 minutes and third was Hisham Al Othman with 1:20.962 minutes.

Meanwhile, Al Khan faced problems, once again, with his engine which resulted in him finishing a disappointing twelfth position and 9.799 seconds behind the lead.

But with much disappointment, failures and retirements, things could only get better as race one witnessed some intense competition and fights on track as well. Al Khan’s mechanical problems were still unresolved and following an attempt to repair the issue he started the race but was forced to withdraw after a meagre two laps. Shaikh Jaber continued to take the lead and left Shaikh Hamad and Al Othman to throw their gauntlets down for a fight for second and third place.

Saleh’s issues got bigger as he was forced to retire from the grid right from the word ‘go’. This round, it was Shaikh Hamad who outshone the remaining drivers in his first-ever appearance in the Batelco 2000CC Challenge, as he powered through and overtook Hisham Al Othman to finish in second place.

At the end of the first race, Shaikh Jaber finished with a time of 15:56.461 minutes, whilst Shaikh Hamad followed 14.119 seconds behind and Al Othman came in third with a 31.273-second gape from the leader.

The battle continued in the second race as none of the drivers showed any relent. With the first seven positions reversed on the grid, Shaikh Jaber put the remaining drivers through their paces, including Shaikh Hamad and Al Othman, as he sliced his way through the entire grid, only to put himself back into first place after just two laps.

But the best of the weekend’s action was certainly left until last as competition intensified and the claws came out for a true ‘clash of the titans’ between Shaikh Jaber and Shaikh Hamad as they battled for first place between the third and 11th lap. At the final lap, Shaikh Hamad claimed his well-earned victory as he overtook Shaikh Jaber and finished 2.965 seconds ahead with a time of 16:04.599 minutes whilst Shaikh Jaber settled for 16:07.563 minutes putting him into second place for the first time this season.

Al Othman finished in third with a time of 16:54.171 minutes, and a bout of misfortune struck both Mohammed Saleh and Mustafa Al Khan on this very gloomy day, as Saleh was forced to retire from both races and Al Khan did not start.

The Batelco 2000CC Challenge has seen increased competition and record numbers of drivers join in the competition this season as leading telecommunications company, Batelco, continues its support as title sponsor. Organized by the Circuit Racing Club and sanctioned by the Bahrain Motor Federation, the Batelco 2000CC Challenge is promoted by Bahrain International Circuit.

The action continues in the final round of the season on May 8. For further information contact the BIC Hotline or read up on the action from the Batelco 2000CC Challenge on www.bahraingp.com.