Dubai, UAE, 8 May 2019: The Holy Month of Ramadan has begun and with it brings the annual Ramadan Challenge at Dubai Kartdrome. The 2019 edition kicked off on Monday night (6 May) with Romaldo Labrooy making a successful bid to defend his 2018 Senior title, Mohammed Ismail accomplishing a grand comeback in Masters and Nathan Pope signalling that he will be a prime contender in the Junior division.
Fresh from two victories in the Endurance Championship with Emirates Racing, Romaldo Labrooy is still flying high in great form. The Sri Lankan driver struggled in qualifying to place only eighth on the grid, but his pace improved in the next three races, racking up a win in heat one and enough points in the other two to edge out Karim Al Azhari for the Senior winner’s trophy.
Last year Mohammed Ismail failed to defend his Masters title against Atef Al Barwani, but this year Ismail has come back strong to make a great start to his 2019 campaign. Floris du Bois was better than Ismail in qualifying, but Ismail stormed back for three class wins in a row to take home the first round Masters trophy.
Defending Junior champion Federico Al Rifai had been dominating Sodi World Series (SWS) races all year, but he may have finally met his match in two rising stars, Nathan Pope and Yashish Manohar. Pope topped qualifying, won heat two and grabbed enough points to claim a first round victory over Manohar, leaving defending champ Al Rifai in third place.
Nathan Pope is normally in the podium mix but this was his first SWS triumph in 2019, which may be the inspiration needed to challenge for the Junior title.
Report: Aaron Meriwether
Photos: CK Designs