Sodi Racing Team Report
Rotax Max Challenge, Round 11 – Yas Marina Circuit
by Nicolas Fargeas, Head of Racing Operations – Sodi Middle East
Race Day Notes:
- Very good weekend for Sodikart Middle East on the Yas Marina Formula 1 track
- Everyone in the tam was looking forward to racing on the track as it is the fastest of the championship
- with different conditions to other venues on the championship calendar
- Engine performance vital for the high speed nature of the track and thus the team had to focus work on
- engines and carburation set ups in order to be competitive
- Challenging track configuration, particularly tough to manage the high speed corners
Very challenging qualifying where Khaled Saab who went from fifth to third, to second and then back to third and to finally finish fifth. Nevertheless Saab was very close to the leader’s.
Anastasya Safonova qualified ninth behind Ali Al Shamsi from Abu Dhabi Racing in the same Sodikart chassis.
Diaraf Keinde ended up in 15th.
The story changed in Heat 1, when the four drivers in front of Saab were disqualified for sporting infringements and gifting him the win. Nevertheless Saab showed great pace in the heat, setting the best lap time of 41.545 seconds – which meant he would start the pre-final from pole position.
Tough start in pre-final as Ali Al Shamsi and Saab slugged it out for top spot, unfortunately the battle ended in tears resulting in a DNF for Saab.
In the Final, Saab bounced back and went from the back of the grid to fifth position – a great job as it was really difficult to overtake and regain places on such a fast track.
Safonova remained consistent to finish eighth and Keinde got himself in trouble finishing 17th.
Half the Junior Max grid was made up of Sodikart chassis of the Sodi Racing Team and Abu Dhabi Racing Team. On the day the class boasted the biggest field of drivers with 26 drivers lining up on the day.
Once again Taymour Kermashaschi was in dominant form claiming pole position, and setting the fastest lap time in all the heats. Kermashaschi did a really good job with his Sodikart being the only junior driver in the 36 seconds zone.
But behind him it was a tough start for the team with the majority of the racers having engine problems in qualifying which saw many relegated to the back end of the grid.
In Heat 1 Omar Alami and Tehmur Chohan finished ninth and tenth respectively, followed by Eliot Jones in P13 and Enzo Fontanella in P14. Logan Hannah and the Yassine brother’s – Talal and Tarek – not far behind, the rookies building their confidence with each lap.
Alami delivered a strong performance in the pre-final, finishing sixth with his pace merely half a second down on the leader. Jones made his way to ninth ahead of Chohan in tenth. Talal Yassine and Logan Hannah spent the race together and ended 18th and 19th respectively. Tarek recovered from his DNF in the previous heat to finish 21st.
In the final there were five Sodikart drivers – including Abu Dhabi Racing drivers – in the top ten on the grid. Jones managed a good start avoiding an incident on the track and found himself on the tail of Alami. At one point Eliot saw a gap and managed to get past Alami and the pair finished sixth and seventh respectively.
Chohan finished 11th, Fontanella was 16th, Hannah in 18th, the Yassine brothers 19th and 20th and Rayan Benani crossing the line in 24th.
Taymour Kermashaschi quote: “Very successful weekend, poled it and won everything including pre-final and final. A really good weekend and again with great support from the Sodi guys. I am very happy with the results.
Eliot Jones quote: “It was my first official race as a Sodi driver and it was really great. I have got to know the team pretty quickly. I was overall happy with qualifying. From then on I was constantly improving and in the final I managed to gain two positions and finish sixth overall. I managed to beat many of the people I had raced against for a long time, so I am pretty proud about that.”
Omar Alami quote: “The race day started pretty well. I think I had the pace in practice, but then in qualifying it was not my best effort. I ended P12 after being caught up in traffic. In Heat 1 I avoided an incident by going wide, but managed to come back and do some good overtakes. Had a good pre-final and started sixth in the final. Eliot took me in one of the corners, and I stayed with him until the end but he defended well. All in all a great weekend with Sodi once again.”
Sodikart driver Patrick Hannah showed his pace right from the beginning, setting the best qualifying lap time of 36.355 seconds to claim pole position from Emmanuel Pagani.
Anas Al Halabi qualified eighth, seven tenths tens off Hannah’s pole winning pace.
In Heat 1 Hannah made a mistake which cost him time and he ended fourth, while Al Halabi managed to hold on to eighth.
In Pre Final, Hannah bounced back to finish second, but Al Halabi dropped down to P11.
The final delivered a great battle between Hannah and Pagani. The Sodikart driver attacked with five laps to go but the move failed, which also gave the opportunity to Al Mutawaa to take the second. Hannah settled for third with Al Halabi in P11.
Patrick Hannah quote: “The day started well with pole position in qualifying. Unfortunately in the heat I got caught up in an accident and that put us back for the pre-final. The pace in the final was very good, I think I could have won the race, unfortunately I made a mistake. But I think third place is well deserved.”
Piers Packenham-Walsh managed a good setup on his Sodikart Sigma chassis and engine giving him the speed to qualify second place, two tenths down on pole winner Sean Babington.
In Heat 1, Packenham-Walsh dropped a position to third, but was the fastest on track with a lap time of 35.618 seconds.
In pre-final Packenham-Walsh was again the fastest with 36.605 taking the lead from Babington, but the two came together in Turn 1. The incident cost Packenham-Walsh time and he finishedfourth position.
In the Final, Packenham-Walsh managed to battle his way to second place behind pace setter Lancaster who was pulling away. Packenham-Walsh was involved in a three way battle for second with Sanad Al Rawahi and Babington. Packenham-Walsh crossed the finish line in second place, but the officials gave him a one place penalty for a race infringement which dropped him to third. All in all a good points hall for the popular Sodikart driver.
Piers Pakenham-Walsh quote: “We had a really good day at Yas Marina Circuit. We arrived quite confident and ready to set some fast laps on new tyres. I managed to put it in second in qualifying. I then had a relatively good heat, a small mistake and I finished third. In the pre-final I had an issue with one of the drivers which unfortunately put me down to fourth. The final was a really good race between all the drivers with lots of overtaking, but all nice and clean for the most part. I started fourth and in the end was second.” [Note: Piers was penalised and relegated to third in the final.]
Abu Dhabi Racing
Great Results and great pace throughout the race meeting
Hamda Al Qubaisi second in Mini Max
Amna Al Qubaisi third in Junior Max
Saeed Al Ali fourth in Junior Max
Photo Gallery here>>>