UAE Time Attack hits the Yas Marina Circuit for round one, Michael Heywood’s Mitsubishi Evo X nailing a devastating time for Unlimited Class victory.[Not a valid template]
Given the eleventh hour cancellation of the Drift UAE event (owing to a triple booking of the north circuit at Yas Marina), it wasn’t a big surprise to see seven slammed garages of fans, drivers and Street/Super Street machines of varying levels of awesomeness ahead of the opening UAE Time Attack round of the 2013/2014 season. Not a Modified category vehicle was in sight, though that didn’t mean competition wasn’t tight.
Class C – Super Street – in particular was one to watch. Solid laptimes from Bashar Mardini in the #12 Porsche GT3 (now that sounds familiar) and Khalid Almarzouq in the #8 Porsche GT2 gave the pair a heat victory each heading into the final round, barely a tenth of a second splitting the pair during the opening encounters. In the end it was Almarzouq who took the spoils, a ridiculously tight 0.004s advantage (1m 08.855s to 1m 08.8559s) just nabbing the victory). Behind the #1 Mitsubishi Evo VIII of Mohamed Reza lapped the Yas Marina circuit comfortably third fastest, 1m 12.985s his best effort. That left Marco Lagona in the #16 Ford Mustang, Basil Daham in the #19 Subaru BRZ, and Nadir Odeh in the #20 Mitsubishi Evo X battling for the remaining Group C honours, Lagona topping the trio with a best of 1m 14.830s on the Mustang’s final lap.
Mohmoud Sharaf had it all his own way in the #3 Subaru WRX STi during the opening two Class D (Street) runs, 1m 18.922s and 1m 19.270s putting him comfortably ahead of the group. A late event surge from Fouad Wagdy in the #2 BMW M3 though denied Sharaf a clean sweep by just under 0.4s (1m 19.037s to 1m 19.415s). Wagdy’s early event runs in the 1m 20s meanwhile had put some space between himself and the pursuing pack, which consisted of Ahmed Abulshaar in the #17 SEAT Leon, Rawy Tayah in the #10 Renault Clio RS, and Ahmed Yousry in the #4 Mitsubishi Evo IX. The latter ran on average a second faster than his Group D rivals, Abulshaar just ultimately pipping Tayah with a 1m 23.241s run in the final group heat.
All eyes were on the Unlimited Class A contenders however, carbon fibre and turbos attracting knowing looks and approving glances throughout the afternoon. First blood went to Abdulla Rashed in the #11 Mitsubishi Evo X with a 1m 08.013s final lap in the opening class heat. A blistering 1m 06.989s from Michael Heywood’s #6 Mitsubishi Evo X would rip this to pieces however, the Brit – having sat out the opening run – going even quicker during the final run to net an afternoon best of 1m 06.730s around the Yas Marina Circuit. With Rashed only taking to the track in the opening heat, Heywood’s main rivals would be Mohamed Tarifi in the #7 SEAT Leon and Fadi Bikawi in the #14 Mitsubishi Evo. A best of 1m 11.763s for Bikawi (who opted not to run in the final heat) meant victory and further approving glances went Heywood’s way.
Amidst a wave of Mitsubishi Evos, few were left wondering who led the charge.