Dubai, UAE, 14 January 2019: Nathan Pope, Saeed Al Zarooni and Sultan Kurdali of Gems International School (GIS) Team 1 seized a narrow victory over Nord Anglia School Dubai to claim the opening Junior division round of the 2018-2019 Emirates Schools Karting Championship (ESKC) on Monday night (13 January) at Dubai Kartdrome.
NAS Nomad, with drivers Taevan Stecyck and Lewis England, wrapped up the Nomad Class in a tight contest with arch rival Dragsters DXB.
Federico Al Rifai was only one point short of becoming the first-round hero for Nord Anglia School Dubai. His teammate was unable to attend the opening Junior race, so Al Rifai drove all four heats himself and, if not for a missing driving penalty, would have won the night.
Al Rifai won the first two sessions and he was the fastest driver of the night with a best lap time of 1:19.098 on the 1.2km International Circuit at Dubai Kartdrome.
Dubai English Speaking School (DESS) Team 1, with drivers Harry Hannam, Mohammad Durrani and Isaac HK, picked up the win in the third heat and GIS Team 1 nabbed the final heat.
A bit of luck and consistent finishes by racers Nathan Pope, Saeed Al Zarooni and Sultan Kurdali of GIS Team 1 would prove decisive when the final points of the heats were tallied.
Federico Al Rifai racked up 128 points for Nord Anglia School Dubai, but a minus 20-point missing driver penalty brought his final total down to 108 points.
GIS Team 1 finished with 109 points, pipping Nord Anglia School Dubai by a single point to take the ESKC Junior Round One winner’s trophy. DESS Team 1 was very close as well, taking third-place overall and in the ESKC category, with 106 points in total.
In the Nomad Class, for teams of student drivers from different schools, veteran team NAS Nomad nabbed two heat wins, picked up 96 points and a narrow victory over Dragsters DXB on 95 points. Wild Racers claimed third-place in the Nomad Class with a total of 64 points.
The next ESKC Junior division round will take place on Monday, 10 February at Dubai Kartdrome.
Report and photos: Aaron Meriwether