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04 October 2023

Karim Al Azhari storms to victory in Round Two of the TRD 86 Cup

Action from round two of the TRD 86 Cup in the Yas Racing series. (Supplied)

By Staff

Yas Marina Circuit was again in full racing swing this weekend as fans were treated to another closely-fought weekend of racing.

On Friday, Yas Racing Series returned for its second round, featuring three local UAE championships.

The TRD 86 Cup, Yas Marina Circuit’s first ever, single-make championship was back for Round Two and tensions were running high as 12 UAE-based drivers lined up on the grid to battle it out for a place on the podium over the two races.

Once again, Karim Al Azhari put in a superb performance to claim first place in both TRD 86 Cup races.

Al Azhari won Race One in 20 minutes and 56.861 seconds, beating Ahmed Al Melaihi by more than 5.738 seconds, who crossed the line in 21 minutes and 02.599 seconds, with Shihab Al Faheem placing third in 21 minutes and 09.079 seconds.

The afternoon’s programme again saw Al Azhari narrowly triumph in Race Two, with a winning time of 20 mins, and 14.702 seconds, nosing ahead of Tom Verkooijen by a mere 0.971 seconds, and Meisam Taheri who finished 1.199 seconds later to claim third.

Speaking of his TRD 86 Cup Round Two performance, overall winner, Karim Al Azhari, said: “I’m very happy to have claimed first place on the podium and I just hope I can continue to perform as well as I did today throughout the competition.  I had to work really hard to maintain my lead, I could see others creeping up behind me and I just stayed focused and gave it my all.”

Tom Verkooijen, who claimed second place in Race Two, said: “I am pleased with second place although of course I am not going to stop striving for the top spot.  This championship has given all of the drivers a fantastic opportunity to race professionally and the atmosphere on and off track is great.”

Following the weekend’s racing, Karim Al Azhari remains at the top of the TRD 86 Cup leaderboard overall, with four rounds to go.

Speaking after the race Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit, said: “Today has been a great day out for local motorsport enthusiasts. Through our Yas Motor Racing Club we are always striving to bring high quality, affordable motorsport to the local community and I hope with events like today we are achieving this and of course, having fun along the way.”

The TRD 86 Cup was created by Yas Motor Racing Club to nurture the growth of sustainable local motorsports.

In addition to TRD 86 Cup, Yas Racing Series also included the Formula Gulf 1000, the UAE’s national single-seater championship, featuring cars with identical slicks and wings, as well as UAE Time Attack – a highly dynamic race series that sees production-based sports cars compete for the fastest single lap.

Tejas Hirani and Ahmad Al Ghanem took joint honours in the Formula Gulf 1000 championship. Race One saw Hirani take the chequered flag, finishing in 22 minutes, 35.745 seconds, with Al Ghanem following 6.327 seconds later.

Race Two produced a reverse in finishing positions that saw Al Ghanem win (22 mins and 42.374 seconds) and Hirani runner up 6.022 seconds later.

The return of UAE Time Attack saw a total of nine heats across the A,C and D categories.

Racing against themselves and the clock, the fastest group lap times as follows: In Group D, Ahmed Almelaihi (who also raced in the TRD 86 Cup and came second in Race One) recorded a time of 1 minute, 19.793 seconds; Group C saw Mohammad, 1 minute and 12.864 seconds, while in Group A, Leon Price lapped in 1 minute and 5.626 seconds.

Following the weekend’s racing, fans can now keep up with all the action on Yas TV, a new motorsport channel dedicated to following local motorsport. 

Highlights from the weekend’s racing can be viewed at Yas TV https://www.youtube.com/YasMarinaCircuit

For more information on Yas Racing Series and the TRD 86 Cup, please visit: www.yasmarinacircuit.com or call 800 YAS (927).

To receive privileged discounts, make sure you register with the Yas Motor Racing Club by visiting www.yasmarinacircuit.com/en/motorsport/become-a-yas-club-member.