- Ismail defends Masters and Al Azhari brothers sweep Junior Cup
Champions were crowned following the fourth and final round of the Sodi World Series (SWS) 2017 Ramadan Challenge on Monday night (19 June) at the Dubai Kartdrome.
Atef Al Barwani claimed a narrow victory over Romaldo Labrooy to earn his second Ramadan Challenge Senior Cup title, with his last SWS championship win in 2015.
Keanu Al Azhari scored an emphatic double race win to seal the 2017 Ramadan Challenge Junior Cup title, with his brothers Enzo and Adam also on the podium to complete an astonishing championship sweep.
Senior Cup & Masters Romaldo Labrooy sought to avenge a narrow defeat in the Senior Cup title challenge last year and was well on his way early on in the contest. He topped the qualifying session and went on for a Race One victory, but a sixth place finish in Race Two cost him valuable points—and the championship.
Atef Al Barwani enjoyed a more consistent evening than Labrooy, qualifying fourth on the grid, and claiming third place in Race One and fourth place in Race Two.
For Al Barwani, it was just enough. After four rounds of racing the Emirati had collected 170 championship points, sneaking past Labrooy’s 169 by a solitary point. For the second year in a row Romaldo had to settle for a second place trophy, while an Emirates Schools Karting Championship (ESKC) prodigy, Samuel Garbutt, claimed third with 146 championship points.
On the podium Al Barwani appeared grateful to be back in championship form. He said, “I’m thankful for everything that is happening right now. I can’t complain, to be honest.”
Persistent and steady driving also paid off in the Masters category of the Senior Cup. Mohammed Ismail managed only one class win in four rounds, but his consistent podium appearances gave him 119 championship points, which was enough to claim his second Masters title in a row.
With 110 championship points, Dario Rubio was runner up and Gianluca Elmosi took third place on 88 points.
Ismail enjoyed the tough competition. He said, “It was close in Masters because Dario and Gianluca are very good drivers. We had a nice race.”
Senior Cup and Masters winners received prizes courtesy of IAME X30 Challenge, Pearl Beach Hotel Umm Al Quwain and Dubai Autodrome.
Junior Cup Kyle Kumaran topped qualifying early on, but after that the next two races—and the championship—belonged to the Al Azhari brothers.
Keanu Al Azhari was the title favourite going into Round Four and he made sure his rivals didn’t have a chance to catch him. He topped his brother Enzo by 0.139 seconds in Race One and then cruised to another win in Race Two by a hefty 8.889 seconds over Kumaran.
After four rounds of racing and 194 championship points, Keanu Al Azhari was the unequivocal champ, leaving his brother Enzo to claim second place on 171 points and his other brother Adam to secure third with 153 points, making it an all-Al Azari championship podium.
Keanu remarked, “It was really great that we, three brothers, were on the top of the podium together, twice in a row now.”
Junior Cup winners received prizes courtesy of Energy Karts, IAME X30 Challenge and Dubai Autodrome.