Report: Sodi ME Racing Team at Round 4 of the UAE Rotax Max Challenge

  • Sodi Team drivers on the podium on day two of the Kartdrome double header
  • Tough weekend of racing which serves to further inspire team to do well

After a difficult Round 3, the Sodi Racing Team was aiming for better results – 24 hours later – on the Speedway track configuration at Dubai Kartdrome, for Round 4 of the 2015-2016 Rotax MAX Challenge double header.


Qualifying: The Sodi Micro MAX team found it difficult to find the pace in this competitive field where all drivers were within one second.

Anasatassiya Safonov posted a useful 44.405 seconds lap time which was good for second on the grid, two tenths behind pole winner Gaia Eichenberger.

Georgie Zouein got eighth with a 44.729, Archie Sampson got 14th, Luis Velasco 15th and Diaraf Keinde 17th.

Heat 1: Anastassiya Safonova delivered an impressive drive, being consistent and getting the right opportunities to take the win. Zouein moved up one position up to seventh, Diaraf Keinde after few good moves got few positions up to 13th, Archie Sampson 14th and Luis Velasco 17th.

Pre-Final: After a race incident in Pre-Final, Safonova dropped to the back of the grid to 14th. Zouein slowly but surely made his way up to the top by gaining one position and finish 6th. Velasco climbed up to 13th, and Keinde 15th.

Sampson failed to finish the race due to a big accident in the last few corners – a shame for him as he had a pretty decent position in the mid pack and also was fourth fastest in the race.

Final: Due to his accident Sampson sat out the Final, opting to support his teammates from the grandstand in order to recover well for next round in Al Ain.

Velasco had some misfortune with an electrical problem causing him to break down halfway through the first lap.

Zouein managed a very good race battling it out for the third place with Ali Al Shamsi racing the same SodiKart chassis. Although Zouein crossed the finish line in third, after a race report from stewards he was demoted to fourth due to a one place penalty. Safonova recovered to 10th and Keinde ended his day 14th.


Khaled Saab didn’t find the required pace during a tough Mini MAX qualifying, a technical issue impacted his Heat 1. In Pre-Final he suddenly had it all working on his side and managed to finish seventh.

In the Final he made a really bad start pushing him back to last, but he found very good pace and managed to come back to seventh, notably he was among the fastest drivers in the Final.


Qualifying: Impressive drive from our Lady Racer Logan Hannah setting the second best lap time in qualifying for the Junior MAX, a tenth down on pole winner and also her first front row qualifying. Not far behind was Eliot Jones in fifth, Omar Alami in 11th and Enzo Fontanella in 15th.

Hannah: “I was 100% not expecting to qualify where I had qualified and it was an amazing feeling seeing that screen and seeing my name in the top five let alone the top three and I was just hoping that no one else beat my time because I had come into the pits about two to three laps earlier than I should have.”

Heat 1: Hannah unfortunately dropped few positions due to a very good “stuck together” start for the inside line, she managed to integrate into the mid-pack and gained some places to finish fifth.

Jones had a great battle with Tehmur Chohan and on the last lap made a move to claim third, while further back we witnessed an impressive comeback from thr back by Fontanella to grab seventh and setting one of the best lap times of the race. Omar Alami finished ninth.

Pre-Final: It was a difficult time for Jones fighting at the front but got tangled up and finished seventh. Hannah continued to impress, and secured a valuable fourth place, a mere two tenths of a second adrift of third place, as Fontanella maintained a good rhythm and get himself in fifth. Alami crossed the line in 11th.

Final: Although Jones crossed the finish line in fourth and Fontanella behind him in fifth. However after decisions of the stewards an exclusion occurred for third placed Perdana Putra Minang and Jones in fourth. This promoted Fontanella third while the situation was under investigation, and after an appeal positions have been reinstated. Alami and Hannah crashed out of proceedings.

Jones: “Finally in the final I had an amazing start, because I got up to third again. I was doing well until I got over taken under a yellow flag by kart 202. I was very annoyed.”


Qualifying: Rose was feeling comfortable with his chassis and immediately powered to third place in qualifying, ahead of Jan Richtermeier in fifth and Abigail Birch tenth.

Heat 1: Richtermeier took the lead of the SodiKart trio in second place and the second fastest lap time. Rose followed him in thrid, while Birch suffered severe electrical issues on her engine which compromised her race.

Pre-final: Rose swapped places with Richtermeier to claim second place and with it the second best lap time of the race. After fixing the electrical problem Birch was back in the race making a good start, the Sodi Lady Driver bouncing back to claim fourth place. Richtermeier could not finish the race after an incident on track caused damage to his chassis.

Final: Rose found an amazing speed as he raised his game in the Final, putting behind him a tough weekend to claim second place and a spot on the Senior MAX podium for SodiKart Middle East.

Birch found it difficult to keep her fourth place and got stuck behind Ahmed Akhamisi, with her teammate Richtermeier – the pair finished seventh and eighth respectively.

Birch: “Overall it was a great weekend and I learnt so much. It was the first time I had been so close to the leaders with multiple top three finishes in the heats. I am confident that I have the pace, I will continue to work on my race craft to ameliorate my races.”

Richtermeier: “This weekend I really felt how I gained experience. I started out of the front row twice and I have now got the confidence I needed to overtake people. I will now work on my technique and I hope for good results in Al Ain! Big thanks once again to Rob and the whole Sodi ME Team!”

Rose: “Being very competitive coming third in qualifying, third in the first Heat, second in the Pre-final, then a very hard fight second in the final. I would like to say a big thanks to all the team for all the hours they put on before and during the weekend.”

Nicolas Fargeas, Sodi Racing Team ME: “Difficult weekend overall for the team, very frustrating as we had a great speed during testing and all of a sudden everything changed. Fortunately performance came back on Saturday for most of the drivers and we managed to get some silverware. Still a lot of work to do to set consistent good results but we see a lot of improvement from the racers. We work together and try the best on track and off track to get the match for the win. Next Round in Al Ain, we will be ready even though time frame for training is very short, but we will be efficient and hope to get more podium at this one.”