Dubai, UAE, 11 June 2019: Duarte Lopes and Anjum Sheikh of Bin Drai Karting Team triumphed in the opening round of the 2019 Mini Enduro Cup on Monday night (10 June) at Dubai Kartdrome to open their bid to claim the three-round endurance championship.
Wheels of Fury, led by Sam Naylor and Floris Du Bois, placed ninth overall and topped the Masters category, while Charles Dexter of Crackerjack Racing was the top Iron Man driver, placing 14th overall.
Round One Highlights
Twenty-four teams lined up on the 1.25-kilometre Reverse Hill Circuit at Dubai Kartdrome to contest the first round of the 2019 Mini Enduro Cup championship.
Saeed Al Mehairi and Sultan Al Suwaidi of Oryx Racing were the quickest drivers early on, with Al Mehairi’s best lap time of 1:15.649 setting the benchmark in qualifying, the only team to dip below the 1:16 mark.
Emirates Racing, with drivers Arjun Manjunath and Romaldo Labrooy, were 0.658 seconds off the leader’s pace, earning them P2, just ahead of Karim Al Azhari and Hussain Umid Ali of Bad Boys Racing.
Bin Drai Karting Team had a comparatively lethargic start in qualifying, a full 1.141 seconds slower than the top time, but good enough to start fifth on the grid. Duarte Lopes and Anjum Sheikh are both endurance veterans, with Bin Drai Karting Team the current Pro Champions following the 2018 Dubai Kartdrome Endurance Championship; the team’s true expertise and speed would soon be revealed in the race.
With the waving of the UAE flag, the famous Le Mans running start commenced the two-hour and 15-minute endurance race.
Oryx Racing failed to capitalise on pole position, falling back to P3, while Emirates Racing and Bin Drai moved up to challenge for the lead.
Romaldo Labrooy clocked in the fastest lap of the race for Emirates Racing, with a 1:15.061 scorcher, but the team’s overall race pace was not enough, and after 100 laps on the Reverse Hill Circuit, Duarte Lopes led by 9.533 seconds crossing the finish line to take the chequered flag for Bin Drai Karting Team.
Dubai Kartdrome Manager David Bright remarked, “Well done to Bin Drai Karting Team and Emirates Racing for a hard-fought opening round! These veteran drivers dominated the race but there were also plenty of new teams in mix, which is very promising for the future of endurance racing here.”
“Congrats to Charles Dexter of Crackerjack Racing who, despite a slight miscalculation during a pit stop, managed to hold on to take home the Iron Man crown.”
“I’d also like to make a special mention about a couple unique squads on the grid tonight. FZR Falcons, with drivers Ian and Patrick Debattista, is a father/son combo team, and two sisters, Tara and Gaia Eichenberger, competed for TG Racing!”
Report: Aaron Meriwether
Photos: CK Designs