CG Racing Pro triumphed over a strong field and conquered tough conditions to take victory in the Dubai Kartdrome 12 Hours, round one of the 2015 Endurance Championship driven by Mini on Friday, 6 March, while their sister team took top honours in the Corporate Category and Mini Dubai bagged the big prize in the Nations Cup.
With reigning champions Batelco absent this season, the mantle of favourites fell on former champions with CG Racing Pro with David Terrien, Alban Varutti, Piers-Pakenham Walsh and Rami Azzam on duty.
Pakenham-Walsh fired the first salvo by putting the team in pole position for the race, edging Rotax world champion Sean Babington, driving for Dubai Falcon Racing Team, by 0.337 of second in their qualifying duel.
From the start CG Racing Pro’s strategy, masterminded by Joao Gouveia, was to complete the mandatory 14 pitstops early on in the race, however it was not plain sailing as the likes of LD Racing from Russia, Fly Emirates, Dubai Falcon Racing Team, Mini Dubai, Globcom-Flame and Blacklist all had spells in the lead or featured in the top three during the race.
But in the end, when the chequered flag waved at midnight to end proceedings CG Racing Pro, with 566 lapson their chart, had a one lap lead over second place despite a penalty incurred during a safety car period three quarters of the way into the race.
Winning team captain Terrien said, “It was a tough and challenging race, although we did not feature prominently early on that was part of our strategy. But when everything evened out we had a four laps lead at one stage. We were unlucky with the safety car, but typical of our guys who dug deeper and went faster. When you win by overcoming these challenges like this it tends to taste sweeter.”
CG Racing team manager Habib Chouery summed up: “It is a good way to start the season, especially as the teams behind us are always improving and several capable of putting on a serious challenge. However CG Racing we have a superb organisation, with great teamwork and in the end our drivers have an ideal platform to deliver at the highest level – and this they did. We are very proud of our teams.”
Behind the winners Dubai Falcon Racing Team gave chase throughout, their efforts also handicapped during the safety car stage, but with Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum, Sean Babington and Ali Mansoori in the driver line-up they never gave up and stalked the eventual winners throughout the 12 hours
Globcom-Flame also played the patience game and with clever strategy came home third, ahead of fourth placed Blacklist who also came good towards the end of the race as their game plan matured at the right time and their efforts earned them the Spirit of the Race Trophy for not incurring any penalties and their all-round effort.
Mini Dubai finished fifth and CG Racing 2 sixth, which was enough to give them the prestigious top prize in the Nations and Corporate Category respectively. The battle of the ‘Corporates’ was an intriguing race within a race as CG Racing 2 slugged it out with Fly Emirates and Team Emirates, with Fly Emirates leading large chunks of the race. At the finish a mere six seconds separated CG Racing 2 and Fly Emirates, which is as close as it gets in a 12 hours endurance race.
Fifth place for all Emirati outfit Mini Dubai was enough for them to take home the Nations Cup winner’s trophy, with Russian outfit LD Racing in second. G-Force Racing scooped the Best Newcomers Award
Round 2 of the 2015 Endurance Championship driven by Mini takes place on 1-2 May, with the running of the Dubai Kartdrome 600 Laps enduro.