De­fend­ing champ al-Su­laiti and al-Khe­laifi start new sea­son in style

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

Qatar Su­per­stock 600 and Qatar Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship kicked off yesterday with the qual­i­fy­ing ses­sions as de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Saeed al-Su­laiti and Ab­dul­lah al-Khe­laifi took pole po­si­tions. In Qatar Su­per­stock 600, alSu­laiti took the first pole of the sea­son at the Lo­sail In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit af­ter clock­ing fastest time of 2:04.438.

Al-Su­laiti will start the race in the first row, ahead of com­pa­triot Mashel al-Naimi, who posted the sec­ond best time of 2:05.296 and Ab­dul­lah alQubaisi will start in third po­si­tion in the grid with a time of 2:05.321. “I am re­ally happy to be in first po­si­tion in to­day ses­sions and get the Su­per­pole. Com­pared to last week in the of­fi­cial test, I feel much bet­ter with the in­jury in my finger. I didn’t ex­pect to be in front with this lap time. Of course, the race will be dif­fi­cult to­mor­row with 12 laps and I be­lieve there will be a good fight be­tween Ab­dul­lah, Mishal and my­self so let’s see to­mor­row,” said al-Su­laiti.

Al­though al-Naimi couldn’t fix the problems with the front tyre from last week, he was sat­is­fied with his sec­ond po­si­tion. “Over­all I am happy with this re­sult. I man­aged to find a good set up in the Su­per­pole with the used tyre but still have some prob­lem with the front tyre as it hap­pened last week dur­ing the of­fi­cial prac­tice. To­mor­row in the warm up we will try to do some­thing dif­fer­ent in the front fork,” said al-Naimi.

In the QSTK Tro­phy, the fastest rid- er was Jas­sim al-Thani with a time of 2:09.293 with Kuwaiti rider Mo­hammed al-Zaidan and Has­san al-Man­soori in sec­ond and third place re­spec­tively in their cat­e­gory. “For me, the new sea­son is a new begin­ning. I started with a good tim­ing, I trained very well in the off-sea­son and I am ready to com­pete for the win. For to­mor­row, I will start in a good po­si­tion and I will try to keep this place and hope­fully com­pete with QSTK riders,” al-Thani said.

In the Qatar Tour­ing Car Cham­pion- ship, the de­fend­ing cham­pion Ab­dul­lah al-Khe­laifi driv­ing a new car man­aged to se­cure the pole po­si­tion with a lap time of 2:25.368 secs.

“I am very happy to be back. I have a new car for this cham­pi­onship and af­ter the free prac­tice, I had mi­nor is­sues that were solved luck­ily and now I am ready to race. There is still a small set up to be done for to­mor­row but even with this, I man­aged to qual­ify first. But I have to work hard as the new­com­ers are very strong. They are here to win, so it will be a re­ally tough race,” said alKhe­laifi.

A to­tal of 12 cars took part in the first round and the new drivers proved to be very strong. Ahmed Alasiri fin­ished sec­ond with a lap time of 2:26.548, while Nasser al-Ah­babi ended in third place with a time of 2:28.066.

For Alasiri, this is his first time in the cham­pi­onship and was pleased with his de­but. “The com­pe­ti­tion is fierce. Even though I qual­i­fied sec­ond, the other drivers were very close so it will be very hard to­mor­row but fun as well. This is my first time in a cham­pi­onship and first time with this car as I didn’t take part in the of­fi­cial prac­tice last week, so I am very happy with to­day’s re­sult and look­ing for­ward for to­mor­row’s race,” said Alasiri.

An­other debu­tant al-Ah­babi was also happy with his day’s work. “This is my first time in this cham­pi­onship and I am so ex­cited. I am very happy to qual­ify in third place and for to­mor­row, I will work with some set up in my tyres and steer­ing and hope­fully I can fight for the podium,” said al-Ah­babi.

To­day, QSTK Race 1 starts at 11:30 and Race 2 at 14:30. The QTCC first race is sched­uled at 13:00 and the sec­ond at 16:00. Qatar Su­per­stock 600 and Qatar Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship are or­gan­ised by Lo­sail Cir­cuit Sports Club and Qatar Mo­tor and Mo­tor­cy­cle Fed­er­a­tion with Pirelli Qatar as spon­sor.

Ab­dul­lah al-Khe­laifi and Saeed al-Su­laiti (right) in ac­tion at the Lo­sail In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit yesterday.

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