Just one week after competing on the Formula One circuit in Abu Dhabi, GulfSport’s international racing school moved to the Grand Prix circuit of the Dubai Autodrome. As part of GulfSport’s personal driver development program, the drivers were treated to a very powerful presentation on Decision Making Under Stress by David Labouchere OBE (Optimal Fitness). Former Le Mans 24 Hour, British GT and Formula Renault Champion Tommy Erdos was in charge of coaching the Formula Gulf drivers who this week included Campos Racing’s Gulhuseyn (Quka) Abdullayev from Azerbaijan.
FGQukaAfter multiple test sessions on Thursday afternoon, the drivers went out on new F4 spec Hankook slick racing tyres in GulfSport’s 160bhp single seaters for a windy and dusty Quali session.  15 year old Cato Poulsen, who commutes from Denmark to take part, put in a stunning lap of 2:00.395 to take pole position (lap record = 2:00.174).
Race #1 was dominated by the Danish driver who had no room for mistakes with Saudi’s Mashuur Balhejaila on his tail. Italian driver Giulio Peroni made a great start to take 3rd place but was eventually overhauled by Quka who was to take a podium position at his first ever single seater race. At one point Omar Gazzaz (KSA) was the fastest driver on track but spun while pushing hard to catch Quka, which allowed Peroni to get through, but the Saudi picked up the pace and got his fourth place back which he held to the finish. Cato took the win and set the fastest race lap.

Race #2 started with a bang as the pack headed down to Turn 1 with four cars literally side by side – Omar on the outside, next to Mashuur, who was next to Cato, who was next to Quka. Only three drivers made it through. Mashuur and Cato tangled. Mashuur spun out and Cato had to come into the pits for a new nose.

This presented a great opportunity for the others to get on the podium. As they came round it was Omar Gazzaz in the lead which he held for several laps with Quka and Giulio Peroni chasing him hard. Eventually Quka found a way through and the fight commenced again. Omar was then quicker, setting the fastest lap up until that point, but Quka held him off.

At the finish Quka took his first win and fastest race lap much to the delight of his family who had travelled from Baku to watch their boy race, with Omar Gazzaz a brilliant second and Giulio Peroni taking a very well earned 3rd place trophy. The difference in best lap times of all the drivers was notably less than 8 tenths of a second over a massive 5.5kms circuit with 16 turns. Astounding.

The winner of the 2015/16 Championship will be awarded an F3 test with Campos Racing in Spain and the Vice-Champion will attend the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours as a guest of Gulf Oil International.

Rounds 9&10 of 14 will be held on 19th February at the Dubai Autodrome.


Ben Potter

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