Series returnee Aschkan Abdul Malek similarly felt the bite the race one, which ended early after a trail of his own transmission fluid followed the #11 SR3 onto pitroad. His efforts in a hardfought second event however would be rewards with fifth in-class, just ahead of the Balsdon/Smith pairing.
Nissan GT Academy Middle East winner Salman Al Khater meanwhile was busy enjoying his Radical Middle East Cup debut, having confirmed his entry to the series just three days before the opening round. Though his was not a race without incident.
After stacking the #15 SR3 into the wall during qualifying at the fastest part of the Grand Prix layout (thanks to an upright failure), the Qatari thereafter shared driving privileges with series returnee Amro Al Hamad in the #69 Radical, the pair managing a creditable fourth in-class after a turbulent race one (Al Khater receiving a slap on the wrist from race control after a slightly too-close passing manoeuvre into turn one). Swapping to the #15 SR3 for race two (now boasting Al Hamad’s nosecone after the Qatari’s SR3 suffered engine failure) brought the countrymen fourth in-class once again in the second encounter, much to the delight of Nissan GT Academy Middle East runner-up Steve Smuts who joined the Yas paddock on race day to watch the action.
Up front though, it was difficult not to be impressed by Stoneman’s performance. And given the stronger grid numbers hinted to be on-duty at the next round at the Dubai Autodrome, one does wonder how the Brit’s performance will have inspired his fellow-Radical competitors.
|Round 1 Race 1|
|1 –||Dean Stoneman (#88)||SR8||Masters||16 Laps|
|2 –||James Littlejohn/Tony Wells (#2)||SR8||Masters||15 Laps|
|1 –||Ben Barker (#6)||SR3||Supersports||16 Laps|
|2 –||Scott Balsdon/Oliver Smith (#7)||SR3||Supersports||+45.738|
|3 –||Ludovic Loffreda/Wesley Grogor (#24)||SR3||Supersports||+50.482|
|4 –||Amro Al Hamad/Salman Al Khater (#69)||SR3||Supersports||15 Laps|
|5 –||Graeme Hannah/Mark Jordan (#71)||SR3||Clubmans||+26.975|
|6 –||Aschkan Abdul Malek (#11)||SR3||Supersports||9 Laps|
|7 –||Mohamed/Salem Al Nusif (#9)||SR3||Supersports||2 Laps|
|DNF –||Mohamed Al Ghanim (#10)||SR3||Supersports|
|Round 1 Race 2|
|1 –||Dean Stoneman (#88)||SR8||Masters||19 Laps|
|2 –||James Littlejohn/Tony Wells (#2)||SR8||Masters||14 Laps|
|1 –||Ben Barker (#6)||SR3||Supersports||19 Laps|
|2 –||Ludovic Loffreda/Wesley Grogor (#24)||SR3||Supersports||+27.141|
|3 –||Mohamed/Salem Al Nusif (#9)||SR3||Supersports||+38.604|
|4 –||Amro Al Hamad/Salman Al Khater (#15)||SR3||Supersports||+1m 13.693|
|5 –||Aschkan Abdul Malek (#11)||SR3||Supersports||+1m 33.505|
|6 –||Scott Balsdon/Oliver Smith (#7)||SR3||Supersports||18 Laps|
|7 –||Mohamed Al Ghanim (#10)||SR3||Supersports||+11.574|
|8 –||Graeme Hannah/Mark Jordan (#71)||SR3||Clubmans||+32.930|