- Second Consecutive Masters Victory for Ismail
Following six weeks off due to injury, Rami Azzam returned to Sodi World Series (SWS) racing on Monday night (24 July) at Dubai Kartdrome and was right back to his winning ways with a Senior Cup triumph. Mohammed Ismail continued his domination of the Masters category, nabbing his second class win in a row.
A new, smaller circuit configuration, dubbed the Speedway Circuit, was announced for this round and a full grid of 30 Senior Cup and Masters drivers turned up to try it out.
A hand injury hauled Rami Azzam out of competition back in early June, leaving him anxious to recover and get back out on track. Monday night would be his first trial to see if the former Ramadan Challenge champ was again fit for racing.
Azzam struggled early on, managing only seventh in qualifying on the shorter track, while Ahmed Al Hammadi topped the leaderboard with a best lap time of 50.012.
In race one, Al Hammadi got off the line for a decent start but was soon caught up and challenged by both Azzam and Maz Nawaz. The three drivers fought over the lead, with Nawaz getting the upper hand in the opening laps, followed by Azzam controlling the race at the end, taking the chequered flag just 0.203 seconds ahead of Nawaz. Al Hammadi was another 0.393 seconds behind to claim third.
In race two it was Azzam who controlled the opening lap, but he was soon reeled in by familiar foes—Nawaz and Al Hammadi. Again the three adversaries battled it out, with Azzam shaking off the competition to take his second win on the night. Al Hammadi settled for second place and Nawaz took third.
With the results of the two contests nearly identical, the top three drivers for the podium would be easy to determine. Rami Azzam took top honours with a full 80 points on the night, followed by a 69 point tie by Ahmed Al Hammadi and Maz Nawaz.
The tiebreaker was determined by qualifying position, with Al Hammadi’s pole position the decider for the second place trophy. Nawaz’s qualifying time was a mere 0.086 seconds off the pace, just enough to drop him into third on the podium.
Azzam remarked, “After six weeks away, in pain and everything, it’s nice to come back and get straight in.”
In the Masters category of the Senior Cup, for drivers 35 years or older, Mohammed Ismail recovered from a slow qualifying session to take two class victories. Despite a qualifying position of 19th on the grid and fourth in class, Ismail delivered when it mattered, collecting double heat wins.
Ismail secured the Masters trophy on 45 points, followed by Pierre Olivier Chevalier in second place on 41 points. Heiki Eelma locked in third place with 29 points.
Mohammed Ismail won the 2017 Ramadan Challenge Masters Championship back in June and has now followed it up with two SWS class wins in a row.
When questioned after the race, Ismail had less to say about his recent success and more to say about the racing itself. He said, “It’s very nice; all of these drivers are great and we have good fun.”
After racing concluded David Bright of Dubai Kartdrome said, “Changing the circuit configuration for this round proved to be a popular choice, giving us a full grid of 30 and very close racing tonight.
“Moving forward, we hope to introduce new circuit layouts to keep it interesting for everyone.”
The next SWS Sprint Series round will take place on Monday night, 7 August at Dubai Kartdrome.