- Emirati trio aiming to fly UAE flag high and do the country proud in Paris
- Experience has been a good teacher for UAE drivers who will race on familiar RKC track
This weekend (5 and 6 June) the UAE is sending a strong line-up of drivers and teams to the Sodi World Series (SWS) Grand Finals in France, among the entourage are a trio of Emirati drivers – Abdulla Al Ali, Hussein Umid Ali and Atef Al Barwani – all capable of bringing home the biggest prize in international leisure karting.
Since the prestigious SWS series began, at Dubai Kartdrome in 2009, Al Barwani has been a constant front runner and the most successful driver in this form of karting in the UAE. Although he has had previous experiences at the SWS Grand Finals, the top prize has eluded him, but this year the popular UAE driver is aiming to do the business.
Al Barwani has an action plan as he prepares for the journey to the Grand Finals at the RKC track on the outskirts of Paris, “My objective for the final is of course to get the best results I can for UAE and Dubai Kartdrome. It will be a tough contest as I will be competing with the best-of-the-best, but I feel the time is right for me.”
As a frequent winner on the UAE SWS scene, Al Barwani is well placed to excel at a venue where he has raced before, “I have been very focused on my racing and the results show for itself. It will be the second time I race in this particular circuit (RKC) so that will be a big advantage. It’s a very technical track which is always challenging even for the most experienced of drivers.”
“I’m in the best shape I can be and right in time before these finals. I’m going to up-the-ante after a successful 2014 world finals. On behalf of all the drivers who will be flying the UAE flag we will do everything it takes to bring the best possible results back home,” added Al Barwani.
Al Ali is pretty much on the same page as his fellow countryman, and said of the task ahead, “My objective is to reflect the image of UAE racers, namely our morality, sportsmanship and competitiveness of an international level. The expectation is to set a good example as a UAE driver on the international scene and achieve the highest ranking possible.”
Racing on foreign soil is always a challenge, as the UAE contingent will come-up against drivers who have home track knowledge and expertise in whatever conditions occur during the weekend of the Grand Finals, where rain and wet conditions are a high possibility.
But Al Ali is not fazed by this, and explained, “The main strength I have for these Grand Finals is that I have raced on the RKC track in the 2013 SWS World Finals where I was on the pace with world top drivers. This time I go to France well prepared physically and mentally.”
Umid Ali is also fired up for the occasion, as he to travels to a venue where he has raced before, “It is an honour to represent the UAE on the international stage. I am inspired to do the best possible performance and hopefully we can bring back some silverware.”
“We are a strong team, and although this is a solo sport we drivers from the UAE can work together to ensure that we are well represented on the grid when the Super Finals take place,” said Umid Ali.
All the drivers representing the UAE, at this edition of the Grand Finals, have their racing careers deeply rooted at Dubai Kartdrome, where over the years they have become the drivers to beat on any given SWS race day.
Al Ali acknowledges, “It can’t be denied that the chain of SWS races at Dubai Kartdrome has its positive influence in sculpting the skills required to be prepared for such events.”
Other UAE based drivers, all front-runners at the Kartdrome, who will be contesting the Grand Finals along with Al Ali, Umid Ali and Al Barwani are: Sam Zian, Paul Chatenay, Alexandre Silanine, Craig Shenton and Maz Nawaz, along with Junior drivers Alex Connor and Oliver Walton.
Also making the trip, to contest the SWS Endurance Grand Finals are two teams from CG Racing and F3 Racing.
Kartdrome assistant manager David Bright, who will be on hand to offer his expertise to the drivers, said: “No matter what happens the SWS Grand Finals will be tough. There are no guarantees, but we have a very strong line-up of UAE based drivers and teams fighting for top honours. I now that the team spirit is strong, so all the elements are in place for a good showing in Paris.”
On track action at the RKC starts when 75 drivers take to the track, in groups of 20, for Free Practice starting 08:00 am on Friday (5 June), followed by Heats during the course of the day with Super Finals to bring proceedings to an end, with the same schedule on Saturday to determine the champions.
Information, entries, live timing and streaming of the 2015 Sodi World Series Grand Finals can be found here>>>