GEMS World Academy, Dubai, student Nick Canal was crowned 2012/13 Formula Gulf 1000 Champion at the Dubai Autodrome after securing vital points and two top-5 finishes in the final rounds 13 & 14. The Final rounds of the Formula Gulf 1000 Championship saw a nail-biting finale right down to the final laps, where the 18-year-old showed his class and composure to secure the title.
The Spanish/American driver had a bit of fourtune to thank for his win. All drivers, according to the championship rules, have to drop one of their worst rounds in points and fortunately for Canal his worst race was in Yas Circuit where he only scored two points in an unfinished (DNF) race earlier in February. Canal also scored valuable points during the season with six pole positions which also carries valuable points.
Round 13 on the Dubai Autodrome’s 3.5km national circuit was bitter-sweet for Canal as he had his sights set on a podium finish to mark the last race weekend of the season, but he ran wide on turn at the last turn on the last lap, fending off Weiron Tan, allowing the Malaysian to skip past to take the third place.
Later in the afternoon, during round 14 with the sun low in the sky and struggling for grip on his already worn tyres, Canal was desperately fending off the charge from Saeed Bintouq as by the last few laps his tyres were already finished and he had a tough job securing those much-needed final points.
After accepting the championship trophy, which is engraved with the name of last year’s winner Lebanese ace Joe Ghanem, Canal told XPRESS: “I’m so happy to have achieved what I set out to do.
“It was not easy and the wins didn’t always come, but I tried to focus on bringing the car home in one piece at every race to keep my points tally up. Strategically I had a strong lead in the championship, but there were a few moments when I thought I had thrown it all away so I just tried to keep my focus and not get disillusioned.
“I really want to thank Lex Akehurst at XSport Driver Management and especially my family for all the support throughout the year, as they came to watch all of my races and they are the ones who have given me this opportunity. Without them backing me financially too I would not be accepting this champion’s trophy today.”
Asked about his next plan of action, Canal said: “Now I will go on a short holiday with my family before returning to Dubai. I am aiming to raise some sponsorship funding so that I can continue to represent Dubai in international racing. Next year I am hoping to go to the USA where I aim to enter the Indy Lights series as the first Dubai driver to do so.”
In 2010, Canal joined Spanish ex F1 driver Emilio de Villota's single-seater driving school for young aspiring drivers. Canal was invited to participate in the 2011 Master Junior Formula (young driver’s training course) with De Villota, then went on to compete as a member of the junior team in the Catalunya Open Championship, racing Formula BMW cars. Against all odds, Nick took the podium eight times out of 10, and received the title of Vice-Champion of the series and Champion of the junior class.