Sodi Racing Team Report
Rotax Max Challenge, Round 12 (Final) – Al Ain Raceway
by Nicolas Fargeas, Head of Racing Operations – Sodi Middle East
Race Day Notes:
- Tremendous final round of the season in Al Ain for SodiKart Racing Team
- People choice award ceremony where SodiKart Racing Team was awarded of the Best Racing Team of the UAE Championship
- Piers Pakhenham-Walsh winning the Role Model of the Championship Award
- Victory in the most prestigious title in UAE Rotax Max Karting with the win of the DD2 championship by Piers Pakenham-Walsh
- Patrick Hannah being consistent all year, finishes runner-up in the Max Senior championship after the a very challenging final.
- Taymour Kermanshachi after a total domination of the season wins the Junior Max Championship
- Tehmur Chohan showing good potential for next season
- Khaled Rae Saab emerges as the novice at the season, finishing at the front and challenging the top drivers of the class and bringing back home the 4th place in the championship.
Tough start for Khaled Rae Saab, who was one of the outsiders for the championship who arrived in Al Ain targeting silverware. The day started well for Khaled who led series pace setter Theo Kekati, but the hopes of the team were dashed by disqualification for technical reasons. Neverthesless Khaled was not affected and decided to show his speed in the second heat where he started at the back and powered to fifth, but came together in the last corner with Kekati and received a three place penalty. In Heat 3, Khaled finished first showing his ability to attack while also impressing with his defensive skills on the track. He went on to finish second in Heat 4.
The next day according to the results, for the Pre-Final, Khaled started in the mid-pack and managed his way to seventh which was not the ideal starting spot on the grid for the Final. Despite this Khaled was determined to finish on the podium, and gave his quest a boost by making a great start and thereafter fighting to reach the front. At this point Jamie Day was long gone to finish in first place.
Theo and Khaled decided to work together to break from the pack and try to reel in the leader. On the final lap, after helping each other, it was time to decide the business of second place. Theo overtook Khaled and defended pretty well until the last corner where Khaled went all in and made an overtake on the outside stick and with it second place to crown an impressive finale for the rookie.
Khaled: “It was a really good day for me, to finish second after starting seventh feels great. I need to thank my mechanics for making it happen and the whole Sodi Racing Team for their support.”
In Heat 1, Taymour Kermanshachi who had to use his “Green Machine” instead of his SodiKart for technical reasons found himself in difficulty, challenged by Lucas Petersson. Taymour showed his experience by still setting the fastest time, a tenth ahead of the leader and finished second. Logan Hannah impressed by finishing fifth by smartly avoiding an incident on the track. Eliot Jones and Tehmur Chohan also avoided the incident reached to finish ninth and tenth respectively. Enzo Fontanella did not finish the heat.
Taymour won the second heat by a tenth of a second ahead of Alain Bauwmans, while the other Sodi drivers struggled in the mid pack. Taymour made it two from three in the third heat, after fending off a determined challenge from Amna Al Qubaisi, Ahmed Al Khamisi, Tehmur and Omar Alami – all of them driving SodiKarts. Eliot finished ninth, while Enzo Fonatanella and Logan struggled.
Taymour finished second behind Lucas Petersson, in the Pre-Final. Tehmur claimed fifth, Eliot seventh. Omar Alami showed impressive pace by setting the fastest lap but his hard work came to nothing when he was taken out in the last few corners of the race. Enzo fontanella improved to finish tenth
After a long fight between Lucas, Taymour and Alain Bauwmans in the Final it was the latter who seized the advantage to finish first, with Taymour managing the fastest lap time. Tehmur was a comfortable fourth, ahead of Amna Al Qubaisi in fifth. Eliot was seventh, with Enzo eighth.
Logan started on a very positive way but bad luck struck as technical issues forced her to DNF. With second place on the day Taymour did enough to claim the Junior Max champions trophy.
Patrick Hannah had to dig deep as he took on the likes of Stura, Peroni, Pagani and Rose in Senior Max category. He managed a couple of second place finishes in two heats, but in the other two he battled down the order. However his pace was evident as he was constantly among the fastest in each race.
He started the Pre-Final in sixth and was soon battling for the lead in a nail biting contest, as the lead swapped in just about every corner and again he finished sixth.
In the Final he again battled hard to reach the leaders Pagani and Pook and stay with them until the chequered flag waved. With third place in the bag Patrick did enough to claim second place in the Senior Max championship behind Tom Bale.
Patrick: “It was a tough weekend for me, we had the pace but did not get the results we wanted. We thus started the final in sixth but having the best kart in the field helped and in the end we finished third, which means I finish second in the championship.”
The DD2 showdown was a matter of winner takes all as Piers Pakenham-Walsh, Sean Babington and Sanad Al Rawahi arrived in Al Ain vying for the prestigious title. From the outset Babington and Al Rawahi showed good pace forcing Piers had to battle hard for second place in Heat 1. He then bagged a couple of third place finishes in the next two heats and the Pre-Final.
Reigning world champion Babington showed his class in the Final by establishing a nine seconds lead with Piers and Al Rawahi chasing hard, but at that point it looked done and dusted. But motor racing can be cruel and was so for Babington who came to a stop with a dead battery. Piers seized the moment to take an unexpected victory and with it the much coveted and prestigious DD2 championship title in a manner he could not have dreamed of before the start of the weekend.
Piers: “I found some good pace in the final but Sean managed to get a good lead but unfortunately for him he had a technical problem which forced him to fall back, fortunately I was in the right place to take the win and the championship as well. An Amazing day to be able to win the championship for a second season in a row. I need to thank the whole Sodi Racing Team, and especially Mum and Dad who have made this a really good year.”
More pictures from the Al Ain final weekend here>>>