Taking the third step of the Radical podium was Emal Racing’s Graeme Hannah and Mark Jordan, who were joined for the first time by Emirati newboy Ahmed Al Hammadi. After a solid and largely trouble-free run, the trio secured Clubmans category victory ahead of Dave Anderson’s #71 SR3. The Brit, though pleased with his result, admitted that this would likely be the last time he made the Radical Middle East Cup this season. Splitting the Clubman competitors was Aschkan Abdul Malek and Romain Lutter in the #11 SR3, a good run for the series returnee and French former Formula Renault driver netting them sixth overall on a Club circuit neither had raced before.
It would prove a difficult day though for Al Hamad and the returning Edward Jones in the #69 SR3. With his last Radical outing fresh in his mind, during which his fuel tank ran dry on the penultimate lap, Jones was on the pace early, netting the #69 entry a front row starting position. The newly crowned European F3 Open Champion however had his hands full during his stint after an incident filled opening drive from teammate Al Hamad, numerous knocks from the #9 Mohammed Al Nusif/Salem Al Nusif/Mohammed Al Hassawi entry sending the Qatari spinning to the back of the grid and damaging the bodywork in the process. Having already battled brake issues in qualifying, the #69 was a frequent visitor to pitroad throughout the two hours. Several mechanics boots in opportune places couldn’t get the recalcitrant machine firing on all cylinders, and after an afternoon to forget, Jones brought the #69 onto pitroad to retire on the final lap, having completed only two thirds of overall race distance.
Series returnee Mohammed Al Jawa felt the duo’s pain, completing just 29 laps in an SR3 that had spent almost a year in a Saudi Arabian lock-up and was undergoing its first race outing in as much time at the Dubai Autodrome. With largely cosmetic damage, Al Hassawi and the Al Nusif pairing fared slightly better, admitting they had ‘nothing to lose’ by going all out in the second half of the race, and duly coming away with eighth overall behind Dave Anderson.
An unorthodox endurance race then for both the NGK Racing Series runners and the Radical Middle East Cup. Not quite the grandstand finish we had hoped for but that’s not to say it wasn’t without its merits.
|NGK Enduro Radical Middle East Cup|
|1 –||James Littlejohn/Tony Wells (#2)||SR8||Masters||106 Laps|
|2 –||Costas Papantonis/Alexandros Annivas (#1)||SEAT Leon Super Copa||Cl 1||95 Laps|
|3 –||Scott Balsdon/Oliver Smith (#7)||SR3||Supersports||90 Laps|
|4 –||Salman Al Khater (#6)||SR3||Supersports||89 Laps|
|5 –||Graeme Hannah/Mark Jordan/Ahmed Al Hammadi (#71)||SR3||Clubmans||86 Laps|
|6 –||Aschkan Abdul Malek/Romain Lutter (#11)||SR3||Supersports||+48.327s|
|7 –||Dave Anderson (#77)||SR3||Clubmans||82 Laps|
|8 –||Mohammed Al Nusif/Salem Al Nusif/Mohammed Al Hassawi(#9)||SR3||Supersports||80 Laps|
|DNF –||Rob Barff/Jordon Grogor (#88)||McLaren 12C GT Sprint||Cl 4|
|DNF –||Amro Al Hamad/Edward Jones (#69)||SR3||Supersports|
|DNF –||Mohammed Jawa (#82)||SR3||Supersports|