Mixed Fortunes for Team UAE at the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals 2016 – Day 7

Highs and lows for Team UAE and Oman on final day of Rotax MAX Grand Finals in Italy
Kermanshahchi brothers outstanding on final day

UAE, 24 October 2016: Team UAE brothers, Ziggy and Taymour Kermanshahchi, were the star performers for Team UAE on a dramatic final day of action at the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals 2016.
11-year-old Ziggy Kermanshahchi drove superbly to finish a sensational 5thin the Mini MAX class.  Surrounded by the world’s best in this category, Kermanshahchi was made to work extremely hard from 11thplace on the grid as he fought his way through the field to finish just 4 seconds behind new World Champion Jayden Els from South Africa.
This was the UAE’s first representation in this category at a Grand Finals and a fine example of how UAE-based talent has excelled in recent years with the level of competition at national level in the UAE Rotax MAX Challenge.
There was elation and heartbreak in equal measure in the DD2 Final as Taymour Kermanshahchi saved his best for last with a fantastic drive to 8thplace while podium contender and Omani national, Abdullah Al Rawahi, crashed out while fighting amongst the front runners on lap 3.
Both drivers enjoyed a brilliant first lap as they made significant progress from their respective grid slots.  Al Rawahi’s pace and race craft had set him apart throughout the Heat stages and he was into his groove immediately with a number of clinical overtakes as he made his way quickly to 7th, in a tight pack with the race leaders.  Eyeing a move for 6thpast rival Canadian Marco Signoretti, Al Rawahi powered through but the two drivers touched under braking as Signoretti tried in vain to defend, forcing them both into a spin and agonising retirement.  Kermanshahchi capitalised and continued with aplomb, picking off a number of other top-class competitors on his way to an inspired 10thplace, later promoted to 8thafter penalties were applied to two other drivers.
Kermanshahchi was understandably elated after the chequered flag but was quickly put into place by younger brother, Ziggy, who was quick to point out that “8thplace isn’t as good as 5th!”
For Al Rawahi, a podium finish was a realistic possibility but he was truly magnanimous after his disappointing result, “Thank you to everyone for all the support.  Congratulations to Team Oman and UAE for the fantastic performances and great team spirit.  I think we did a great job all week in very tough conditions against the world’s best drivers.  Luck was not on my side today but that’s racing sometimes.
“For me, there is always next year.” he concluded with a wry smile.
Ferenc Kancsar went on to win the Final and retain his Championship crown.
Pasqual Pook was in the thick of the action in the MAX category, swapping places continually until the end of the 20 lap Final.  He was disappointed with his 25thplace, having run in the top 20 at one point, but this was a fine performance from Pook in arguably the toughest class.
Oscar McElroy (21st) and Rashid Al Dhaheri (31st) endured a tough final as they were involved in an early incident and couldn’t hide their disappointment as both believed that they could have figured much higher up the leader board if things had gone their way.  Still, the Micro MAX category provided a great experience for the pair of highly-rated racers and fuelled them with motivation to return next year.
Team Manager Guy Sheffield concluded, “It has been a bittersweet couple of days for our drivers in terms of results.  But overall we can be very proud of each and every one of them for their efforts this week, their commitment and support.  This is the biggest stage and the toughest level of competition so, even if some results did not go our way, our drivers have benefitted hugely from the experience and will go back home and help to raise the performance bar further in terms of our National competition.
“It was an amazing performance from Ziggy.  We have a huge strength in depth in that category which bodes well for the future.  It has been an exhausting week but hugely positive for UAE and Oman kart sport and we are more determined than ever to continue to develop things back home so come back again stronger next year.”
Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals Champions 2016:

Micro MAX      – Diego Laroque (USA)
Mini MAX        – Jayden Els (RSA)
Junior MAX     – Mark Kimber (GB)
MAX                – Denis Mavlanov (RUS)
DD2                 – Ferenc Kancsar (HUN)
DD2 Master    – Lee Mitchener (AUS)

The drivers (and race numbers) representing Team UAE and Oman at the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals 2016:

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)

Dubai Gazette