Dubai: The combination of Rob Barff and Leon Price in the AUH Motorsports run Ferrari 458 Italia are proving to be the class of the NGK UAE GT Championship as they powered to an impressive win in the GTA Class at the second round of the series on the final day of the Dubai Motorsport Festival at Dubai Autodrome.
Barff started from pole and set about opening up a handy lead in the first half of the race, which included the race fastest lap, before handing over to Price who brought the car home to take overall victory in the one hour mini enduro race.
Price said afterwards: "It was a great win. This car is fantastic and we have now won five races out of five with it, including races in Europe. Once again Rob set a great early pace, he was super consistent. During my stint, I found it to be very hot and tough in the cockpit. But we did enough and of course it's great to win."
Barff was quick to acknowledge the team effort: "I played a small role as there a many people involved with the success. I must thank AUH Motorsport and the crew for their efforts. They made this possible. The car was great, we keep learning about it and really it ran like clockwork in challenging conditions. It feels great to win against strong competition today."
Second overall and winners of the Porsche GT3 Endurance Challenge ME, race within a race, was the pairing of Ahmad Al Harthy and James Sutton, who finished ahead of the similar Porsche of Christian Mezel and Armin Schmid.
Emirati pairing of Saeed Al Mehairi and Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum won the GTC Class in the Yas Marina Circuit backed Aston Martin. "The team did a good job and gave us a very strong car. Conditions were tough but it is good to score a win here at Dubai Autodrome," said Al Muhairi.
Meanwhile, Nader Zuhour finally scored a well deserved victory in the second Total UAE Touring Car Championship race of the Dubai Motorsport Festival weekend, in the hotly contested Class 1 of the series.
Driving the distinctive black and orange Seat, Zuhour took advantage of a race restart to build a strong lead at the head of the field and keep at bay a hard charging challenge from Mohammad Al Owais in the Emirates Racing Team Seat, who had to settle for second place by the narrowest of margins.
Zuhour was relieved to notch up his first victory of the season, after coming desperately close on a number of occasions during the earlier rounds of the series. He said afterwards: "It was really good to get this result. I made a mistake last round when I should have won, so after second place yesterday it was good to take this win. I aim to repeat this more often this season."
Costas Papantonis was pleased to return to the podium after taking third in the Gulf Petrochem Seat.
After a couple of DNFs Class 2 reigning champion Umair Khan was back on the top step of the podium when he took top honours in the Lap57 Honda. He made no mistake on the restart and got the better of Aslam Moola who was runner-up in the Emirates Racing Team Honda, ahead of Rupesh Channake who was third at the wheel of his Lap57 Honda.
Khan said: "We have had some mechanical issues which meant we lost points, so it is very good to bounce back and score this win. The plan is now to be consistent and notch up more wins in the drive to retain the championship."
Top spot on the podium in the Clio Cup, race within a race, went to Alexandros Annivas in the Gulf Petrochem Renault Clio.
There was drama early on in the race when the brakes failed on Spencer Vanderpal's Dubai Petrolheads branded Honda, which resulted in him crashing into Abbas Al Alawi's Honda. The two were not injured in the incident but the race was red-flagged, before being restarted.
A mere 24 hours after paying tribute to the late MotoGP star Marco Simoncelli after winning race one of the Motorcity UAE Sportbikes Championship, Mahmoud Tannir was back on the top step of the Dubai Autodrome podium celebrating his second 600 Class win of the Dubai Motorsport festival weekend.
Tannir, on a Triumph Daytona, got bogged down at the start, but the Dubai based Lebanese rider put his head down and began to carve his way through the field. With a lap to go Tannir had reeled in and overtook his teammate Alan Boyter, who was leading the class but struggling with grip late on in the race, and scored one of the best wins of his career.
Tannir, who now leads the championship standings after three rounds, said afterwards: "It was really a tough race. I had a bad start and also had a problem with my drink system which was spraying water in my helmet. But I composed myself, sorted out the problem with the water and then started to push. I am very happy to win because this was a tough race."
Nearly lost it
Boyter was visibly disappointed and admitted: "By the end my tyres were gone. I was aware of Mahmoud closing in but there was nothing I could do. I also nearly lost it midway through the race."
Scoring his first podium finish of the season was Erikas Savickas (Yamaha) who crossed the line third in the 600 Class.
Making it a hat trick of double wins were Gernot Dobida (Honda) who took victory in both 1000 Class races and Chris Morley (Kawaski) who made it six out of six in the Rookie Cup. Morley said: "It was a perfect weekend. My bike was great, the tyres worked well. Conditions were tough, but then they always are."
Surya Raja (Yamaha) was third in the Rookie class with Ian Wilcox (Honda) third.