- Chatenay and Al Barwani shine bright at SWS Grand Finals in Paris
- UAE drivers bring home substantial silverware from tough weekend of racing
Paul Chatenay and Atef Al Barwani gave standout performances on the final day of the SWS Grand Finals at Racing Kart de Cormeilles (RKC) on the outskirts of Paris, where 75 of the world’s top SWS drivers gathered for the annual international shootout to determine the best of the best.
Chatenay ended the challenging weekend of tense competition as he claimed third place in the all important World Masters Super Final. The pressure was on Chatenay as he was the only UAE based driver to qualify for the main event of the SWS weekend in France.
He managed a good start from fifth on the grid and was circulating with the leaders until the halfway mark, when he made his move to take the lead. The top three circulated nose to tail with Chaetnay in command until the last corner of the final lap when Simon Delvenne squeezed past to take victory, and Kevin Caprasse took advantage of the gap to claim second with Chatenay having to settle for third.
For Chatenay, who finished second in the 2013 SWS Grand Finals, it was as close as it could get – a mere 0.135 separated the trio as they lunged across the finish line. Nevertheless for Chatenay it was a reward for his consistency and strong pace which he showed throughout the weekend of intense racing on two circuit configurations at RKC.
The Abu Dhabi based Frenchman said: “It is a bittersweet result. But of course I am happy to be third, but in my heart I know I could have won the World Masters Super Final.”
Earlier Atef Al Barwani flying the colours of the newly formed F3 Racing team, contested the World Masters 2 final, rose to the occasion to deliver a gutsy drive and turn sixth place on the grid to victory.
The Dubai based Emirati driver said: “It was a privilege to wear the F3 Racing colours at the SWS Grand Finals and in the end I am happy with the result. Bringing home a trophy was one of my objectives and this I achieved with the win in the World Masters 2 final. Mission accomplished.”
Other UAE based drivers who flew home with silverware in their luggage included: Maz Nawaz, Abdulla Al Ali, Craig Shenton and Alexandre Silanine, while Hussein Umid Ali and Sam Zian – constant front runners in Dubai – returned home empty handed as luck and circumstances conspired against them during the course of the event.
In total there were 60 sessions of practice, qualifying and racing for the 75 finalists with points being scored for all races to determine the final rankings. Chatenay was the top scoring UAE based driver in sixth place, followed by Al Barwani 24th, Zian 29th, Umid Ali 49th, Silanine 51st, Al Ali 59th, Nawaz 60th and Shenton 63rd.
Representing the SWS Juniors for the UAE were Alex Connor and Oliver Walton. The pair were the youngest of the 35 drivers whose ages ranged from 11 to 15.
Nevertheless the pair gave their best at all times, with Connor making it all the way to the World Masters Super Final (Juniors) where he started seventh and ran with the leaders until he was victim of some heavy handed tactics and was spun around dropping to the back end of the field. Undeterred he fought back to finish 14th.
In the SWS Junior rankings Connor finished ninth and Walton 27th.
Kartdrome assistant manager David Bright, who accompanied the UAE entourage, said afterwards: “Once again our drivers did well in these SWS Grand Finals. We came close to grabbing the win in the World Masters Super Final. Although some of the guys felt they should have done better, there were still quite a few trophies on the way to Dubai and that is always a good sign.”
“Our junior boys did us proud too, as they easily the youngest in the field yet they could run near the front comfortably. The experience was a steep earning curve and no doubt they will be stronger if and when they return.”
“But all in all, with third place in the Endurance final by CG Racing and the showing by our boys during the two days, it was a good weekend for our SWS drivers in France, ” concluded Bright.