We’ve seen a lot of ups, downs and a few bumps and bruises on the road to this year’s UAE Touring Car Championship, and the final round of the season produced easily the most nail-biting finish we’ve seen in a while.
As ever, crankandpiston was on-hand at the Autodrome to scope the news and check out the form, and try not to trip over any loose wires. This gave us plenty of time – when the dust had settled – to grab a quick chat with this year’s Class Champions.
Nader Zuhour: UAE Touring Car Champion, Class 1
First of all, many congrats Nader. Two races, two wins. Sealing the title in fine style there…
“Yes, thank God! First of all I’d like to thank God for everything, and I want to thank my sponsors, and obviously my team. They’ve done a great job! This year it’s all been about strategy and how you work with the car: you have to drive the way the car likes it, not the other way around. For the first half of the season, I was driving the way I wanted, but around mid-season it shifted, and I started driving the car the way it should be driven. And here we are! I’ve had double podiums for the last few rounds.”
Given the pace today of your main rival, Costas Papantonis, and the fact double points were on offer, were you worried you might be pipped at the Championship post?
“Today I wasn’t too worried that this was a Championship decider. I know my skills, and I knew we had a good strategy. Today, we had a very safe strategy, because it’s been very hot. The trick was to keep the car safe, and not go right up to the limit. That’s maybe where others have fallen and started having problems.
“For my car, there wasn’t anything wrong! That’s why I didn’t push too much. I just wanted to guarantee the Championship. In the second race, I pushed a little in the beginning, but when it started getting hotter, I backed off. And here we go!”
How’s the SEAT Leon been as a Championship charger this year?
“The SEAT has been wonderful! There’s been no problems. Last year I had twelve race weekends, and six of them I didn’t race at all! This year, every time it’s been fine and a lot of fun. In the first round, I had no brakes, but once I’d changed them, we didn’t have any problems from then on.”
Will we see you back next year defending your crown?
“Maybe I’ll be back next year to defend my title. Maybe I’ll move on to something else. Let’s wait and see.”