Oman’s Abdullah Al Rawahi races into Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals

Sports Saturday 22/October/2016 22:29 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman’s Abdullah Al Rawahi races into Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals

Muscat: Team UAE and Oman have six drivers who have progressed through to the final day at the 2016 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Italy, after a gruelling qualifying process with drivers competing in three Heats and making it through the Pre-Finals against the world’s best Rotax drivers.
The top 34 drivers out of 72 in each class proceed to the final day of racing where they will contest the Grand Final to determine the World Champion in each respective class.
Abdullah Al Rawahi has been the star for Team Oman with a fifth place topping his Heat performances, giving cause for real optimism going into the Pre-Finals.
On a very slippery track and wet tyres, the conditions in the Pre-Final were treacherous at best but, remaining in contention with the leaders, he would bring his kart home safely in ninth place to guarantee him a place in the Grand Final. Reigning Indy Lights Champion, Edward Jones, performed admirably but could not make up the vital places he needed to join Al Rawahi in the Final.
Taymour Kermanshahchi, on the other hand, rode his luck as his Pre-Final was stopped due to extreme rain. He was tipped into a spin on the opening lap and was in the middle of a fight-back when the race was halted. The race was continued after the weather improved slightly and Kermanshahchi took full advantage, picking off his rivals systematically until he crossed the line in 13thplace. Penalties for two of his rivals promoted him further to 11thplace and he joins Al Rawahi in the Grand Final.
In the Max class Pasqual Pook endured a tense wait for final clarification after his Pre-Final. He crossed the line in 15thplace which was enough to qualify but a 10 second penalty almost cost him his Final place. Thankfully, a number of his closest competitors also received penalties and confirmation of his progress was announced at the end of the day. Teammate Giulio Peroni improved throughout the week at his first Grand Finals but narrowly lost out on a place in the Final. Still, he can be satisfied with his efforts in the face of quality competition.
Ziggy Kermanshahchi impressed with a great drive through the field in Mini Max and, coupled with penalties applied to drivers ahead of him, was classified in 11th place which gives him an excellent platform for the Grand Final.
Rashid Al Dhaheri and Oscar McElroy both made forward progress in the Micro Max Pre-Final to finish 21st and 19th respectively. If they can do the same in the Final a top 15 finish is realistic although both are hoping for much more. The Micro Max Final will be the first race of Day 7 and will follow the driver’s parade where young Emirati national, Al Dhaheri, will carry the UAE flag with his team mates.
It was heartache for the rest of Team UAE as DD2 Masters drivers Hussain Umid Ali and Anthony Hogg failed to progress to the Final. Umid Ali enjoyed arguably his strongest week so far at a Grand Finals with some consistent performances but ultimately missed out on a Final spot by a handful of places in wet conditions. Hogg had been in the wars in the Heat races but was looking forward to the wet Pre-Final as he had been competitive all week in those conditions. Sadly, though, his luckless week continued as he was forced into a spin, having already made up 10 places from his starting position. Both will return to UAE with strong motivation to qualify again next year.
Arguably the biggest disappointment took place in the Junior Max Pre-Final where Tehmur Chohan and Lucas Petersson looked set to make the Final after some great performances in the Heat races. An excellent opening lap from Petersson saw him move into the top 10 from 20th on the grid. Starting 13th, Chohan was caught up in an incident but limited the damage as he continued in the top 15.
After some initial spots of rain on the opening laps the heavens opened and, with all but three of the competitors on untreaded slick tyres, the race became a bit of a lottery. Despite the conditions, Petersson was looking good until a spin on lap seven dropped him back down the field. Chohan also suffered a brief spin but continued and, as the drivers tip-toed round the track as conditions further deteriorated, both UAE drivers would find themselves outside the automatic qualification places.
Team UAE Manager Guy Sheffield said, “It has been a bittersweet couple of days for Team UAE drivers. We are disappointed that some of the drivers will not be making it to the Final day, but at the same time we are elated for our drivers who made it through.”
“I am sure this is how all teams at these Grand Finals feel after the penultimate day as it is the nature of the competition. Whatever the case Team UAE have racked up massive experience at this event which will serve us well not only in these finals, but also for the future. And of course anything can happen in the finals.” added Sheffield.

The drivers (and race numbers) representing Team UAE and Oman at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals are:
Micro Max: 43 – Oscar McElroy (Top ranked UAE-based Micro Max competitor).
Micro Max: 44 – Rashid Al Dhaheri (Leading Micro Max Emirati National).
Mini Max: 83 – Ziggy Kermanshahchi (Top ranked UAE-based Mini Max competitor).
Junior Max: 166 – Tehmur Chohan (UAE Junior Max Runner-Up).
Junior Max: 167 – Lucas Petersson (Top ranked UAE-based Junior Max competitor).
Max: 267 – Pasqual Pook (UAE Max Champion).
Max: 268 – Giulio Peroni (UAE Max Runner-Up).
DD2: 365 – Abdullah Al Rawahi (Oman DD2 Champion).
DD2: 366 – Taymour Kermanshahchi (Former UAE Junior Max Champion).
DD2: 369 – Edward Jones (Indy Lights Champion 2016).
DD2: Master 471 - Anthony Hogg (UAE DD2 Master Runner-Up).
DD2: Master 472 - Hussain Umid Ali (UAE DD2 Master Champion).