Bahrain International Circuit witnessed a spectacular weekend of racing with the first two races of the Maserati Trofeo JBF RAK series taking place as the headline act of Speed Weekend.
In the first race, Monaco-based Cedric Sbirrazzuoli lead from the grid and took the chequered flag in style some 16seconds ahead of second placed Patrick Zamparini from Italy. Zamparini had been chasing hard throughout the 30-minute race, but dropped time in the later part of the session as the technical circuit took its toll on the tyres.
Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, CEO of Bahrain International Circuit, took the final step on the podium after a faultless race finishing 30.409secs behind the pace-setter.
But it was the second race of the day that delivered the most thrilling action out on the challenging 2.55km Inner Circuit configuration of Bahrain’s Formula One track.
After suffering a puncture in the first race which forced him to make an early pit stop and lose a lot of time in Race 1, Lebanese driver Joe Ghanem was keen to make amends in Race 2. He put on a stellar performance in qualifying to put the No.11 Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo on the front row of the grid jut 0.082 seconds ahead of Patrick Zamparini.
From the moment the lights went out on the rolling start, Zamparini was pushing Ghanem to make a mistake. However the young driver from Lebanon kept his cool for the full 30 minutes of the race even after unrelenting pressure from the Italian driver. At the fall of the flag, Ghanem was victorious by a margin of 1.341seconds over Zamparini.
Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa finished in a comfortable 3rd position, though came under attack from Ziad Ghandour in the last five minutes of the race.
Umberto Cini, Managing Director of Maserati Middle East & Africa, was ecstatic at how well the inaugural round of the Maserati Trofeo JBF RAK had gone. “It was a fantastic weekend of motorsport – we couldn’t have asked for anything better. The action on the track was truly heart-stopping and I must congratulate all the drivers for the professional and respectful manner they drove in both races.”
There was action further down the field in both races with the gentlemen drivers closely matched for pace in qualifying and the race. The three members of GR8 Racing Team from KSA put on a great show throughout the day with brothers Faisal and Osamah Shaker plus teammate Mohammed Jawa putting the full potential of the Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo to good use throughout the weekend.
Kuwait’s Khaled Al Mudhaf was enjoying his time in the car and improved his times over the course of free practice, qualifying and the two races. He fought hard to secure 8th position in both races.
The next round of the Maserati Trofeo JBF RAK series takes place at Bahrain International Circuit on January 6th-7th 2012. All the action can be followed on facebook.com/MaseratiME, live at www.maseraticorse.com or on twitter @TrofeoJBFRAK.