MAIDEN SWS SENIOR CUP VICTORY FOR NAWAZ
Eelma tops Masters and Al Azhari wins Junior Cup
Dubai, UAE, 9 May 2017: Veteran driver Maz Nawaz earned his first Sodi World Series (SWS) Senior Cup triumph through two hard fought races on Monday (8 May) night at Dubai Kartdrome. Heiki Eelma reclaimed the top step in the Masters category and Keanu Al Azhari had a near perfect run to take top honours in the SWS Junior Cup.
SWS Senior Cup & Masters
Maz Nawaz has been steadily climbing up the SWS Senior leader board for the last two years and his perseverance has finally paid off with a convincing win over a field of talented drivers.
It was a slow start for Nawaz, who qualified down in seventh position, well out of range of regular frontrunner Rami Azzam, who topped Qualifying with a best lap time of 1:11.608 to take pole position.
Azzam made good use of pole in Race One, making a clean get away and jumping ahead of the pack. Romaldo Labrooy and Ahmed Al Hammadi pressured the leader while Nawaz was steadily picking his way through the grid and reeling in the leaders.
In the last laps Nawaz got around both Labrooy and Al Hammadi and he quickly had Azzam in his sights, but Rami held on for the win, crossing the finish line just 0.106 seconds ahead.
Race Two was a scrappy contest, with plenty of lead changes and infringements. Again it was Azzam who led from the start, but this time it was Nawaz who emerged from the scuffle and charged on for his first ever SWS heat win, taking the chequered flag 0.257 seconds ahead of Labrooy.
When the final points were tallied, Maz Nawaz won the night on 76 points, while Rami Azzam and Romaldo Labrooy were tied with 67 points each. Azzam was the top qualifier, which enabled him to pip second place over Labrooy.
After his maiden win Maz Nawaz remarked, “Finally pulled it through. To win it outright against these guys feels amazing.”
In the Masters category of SWS Seniors, veteran driver Heiki Eelma returned to top form and chalked up another class win. He shared the podium with two fresh contenders, Charles Dexter in second place and Maurizio Colombo claiming third.
SWS Junior Cup
With two race victories in a row it looked easy on paper, but in reality Keanu Al Azhari had to battle for every centimetre of tarmac against a spirited challenge from Kamal Agha.
Agha fired the first salvo, rocketing to the top of Qualifying with best lap time of 1:20.165, almost half a second clear of Al Azhari, who lined up second on the grid after a best lap of 1:20.617.
Al Azhari and Agha are both seasoned competitors, and the drivers didn’t hold anything back in the next two races. Running bumper to bumper, each driver claimed the frontrunner position at some point, but in both contests Keanu kept in control and managed to stay ahead for the win.
Al Azhari clipped Agha by 0.827 seconds in Race One and just 0.231 seconds in Race Two. Kyle Kumaran chased the leaders on both occasions, but had to settle for third each time.
When the final points were computed, Keanu Al Azhari was the clear victor with 80, while Kamal Agha claimed an admirable second place on 72. Kyle Kumaran rounded out the podium with a third place finish on 66 points.
Report & Photos: Aaron Meriwether