Dubai, UAE, 1 March 2019: After 269 of laps and almost six hours of endurance kart racing, Arjun Manjunath, Mohammad Mattar, Romaldo Labrooy and Ramez Azzam of Emirates Racing are currently in command of the first round of the 2019 Dubai Endurance Championship.
The all-Russian team of LD Russia is giving chase, as well as Cambridge Middle East Interiors and last year’s champion, Bin Drai Karting Team.
Qualification and Race Start Highlights
Conditions early the day were extremely challenging, with a combination of rain and dust presenting a serious test for all 24 teams on 1.28-kilometre Links Circuit at Dubai Kartdrome.
Various Emirates squads have dominated the Corporate and Nations Cup categories over the years, but now it looks like they have found the right combination of drivers to make a legitimate assault on the Pro title as well.
Ramez Azzam of Emirates Racing topped the qualifying session with a best lap time of 1:15.421, beating out the defending Pro champion, Bin Drai Karting Team, by three hundredths of a second. The Corporate wing of the Emirates line-up, Team Emirates, secured P3 and LD Russia took fourth position.
After the famous Le Mans style running start of the 12-hour endurance race, Emirates Racing appeared to have the lead under control, but they were quickly reeled in and passed by Bin Drai Karting Team.
The lead did not last long for Bin Drai. In the slippery conditions and frequent snarls on track, the defending champs dropped down the grid order, to be replaced by newcomer Team Veloce.
Before darkness settled over the circuit, Emirates Racing had clawed its way back into the frontrunner position and it is currently holding its own against LD Russia.
Six hours to go.
Report: Aaron Meriwether
Photos: Arthur Rosales and Aaron Meriwether