GRAND FINALS 2011 - Day 22.11.2011

Another beautiful day in Al Ain, UAE. The morning began again with perfect sunshine and warm, still comfortable temperatures. The regular outfit at the track is shorts and flip flops, some may even feel sorry for the drivers who have to put on their gear at 30+ degrees. The key to success will be to take good care of your body, meaning that they will drink a lot of water, eat healthy and get some rest after a hard day at the track.

Since the drivers have had the driver´s briefing for today already last night, they could focus on the Non Qualifying Practices held from 8.30 until lunch break. From there on the intensity started growing with the heat when the drivers hit the track to put in their best non-qualifying laptimes for this day.

The Circuit Al Ain Raceway is the only CIK International Grade B circuit in the Middle East. The track surface is billiard table smooth, with rumble strips running around the majority of the circuit where you must be careful running wide as it tends to pull the kart onto the strips even further. So far the drivers have been busy to put out some rubber to remove the dust from a week of no karting action. We will see if enough has been removed already, to see some nice overtaking out there in the qualifying heats that will start on Thursday. There would at least be enough opportunities at this track. For more information concerning Al Ain Raceway please consider

Back to the action that was happening today in the 3rd non-qualifying sessions, held in the afternoon.

The Juniors were off to a fast start with Japanese drivers in front for both odd and even numbers. Ukyo Sasahara, Grand Finals and Euro Challenge Champion, and Tadasuke Makino have taken the lead in the even and odd category. Looking at how small the gap was to the drivers placed sencond and third, there will be very intense racing action over the next couple of days. It will be interesting to see if Ukyo, who dominated the Euro Challenge in Juniors and has also won his first race in the Senior category at the MAX Festivals in Japan this year, can show this dominance also at the Grand Finals. Going by overall laptimes Sasahara (Japan, 58.508) was followed by Tadasuke (Japan, 58.519), Singleton (UK, 58.559), Morin (Sweden, 58.571) and Lehane (Australia, 58.682).

In the MAX category we saw a very strong appearance of this year’s Euro Challenge Champion Ben Cooper who put in a 57.540, placing him first in the even numbers session. In overall laptimes (odd and even) Ben was followed by the American Stepanova Nekeel (57.613), Sean Babington (UK, 57.642), Aavo Talvar (Estonia, 57.656) and Sam Beasly (US, 57.666).

The sounds of the DD2 made heart beats faster this afternoon. With its power and two gears it is certainly the best sounding class at this year´s Grand Finals. The action on the track was not any less exciting. In overall laptimes Jari Huttunen from Finland put in a 56.345, followed by Pier-Luc Ouellette (Can, 56.500) and Georg Vann (Estonia, 56.614).

DD2 Masters:
What a battle for the fastest overall laptime in the DD2 Masters class. Florent Lambert (UK, 57.400), Guy Parsant (57.409), Dennis Kroes (57.428), Christiano Morgado (South Africa, 57.474), Stoyan Gosevits (Greece, 57.483) and John van Wyk (57.492) were all placed within one tenth of a second. The DD2 Masters who run on Haase racing chassis will for sure guarantee a lot of excitement for this week.
For further times please go to:

Al Dhaheri Mohammed
Age 25
Country UAE (Al Ain)

How did you start Karting?
I started in 2008 when friends got me in interested in karting. In 2009 I started to use Rotax and in 2010 I made it to the Grand Finals for the first time.

Have you ever been to Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals before?
Yes, as mentioned before I went to the 2010 Grand Finals at La Conca.

What are your expectations for the event?
Of course I want to win! My mechanics, my friends and family will help me to achieve this goal.

Other hobbies?
Falconry is a big hobby of mine! You have to train your own wild Falcon in hunting for you. I have become quite good.

How do you like the event so far?
The Grand Finals are fantastic. I love the atmosphere and the spirit of all participants. With everybody being in the great tent there is a lot of interaction between the teams, that's great!
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