AL ANSARI ROARS TO WIN AS DRAG RACING RETURNS TO YAS
Big turnout for opening round of Yas Pro Drag Racing Series
Abu Dhabi, UAE, 24 December 2012: The thunder of engines and smell of burning rubber returned to Yas Marina Circuit this weekend with the start of a new season of the Pro Drag Racing Series.
Round one of the series – now in its third year at Yas Drag Strip – kicked off with qualifying rounds on Thursday, December 20, followed by race day action on Friday.
A big crowd saw Emirati racers Sultan Al Zaabi, Khalil Al Ansari and Rashid Bin Tamim in action in the Pro Modified category, the fastest of the six classes taking part and the main draw in the evening’s entertainment.
It was Al Ansari who streaked away from Al Zaabi in the final with a time of 3.94 seconds, more than a second faster than Al Zaabi’s 5.18 seconds.
Pre-race hopeful Bin Tamim clocked impressive times in the eliminator stages, but saw his hopes dashed in the semi-final when he false started.
“The whole team is disappointed because we had excellent times in the qualifiers,” he said.
Al Zaabi, who won last season’s Pro Modified series, said: “I had gear box problems in qualifying, but my crew was great and we were confident. We just weren’t quick enough in the final.”
A delighted Al Ansari was thrilled to get the season off to a winning start, but said he would have enjoyed a showdown with Bin Tamim.
“His early pace was very good,” said Al Ansari. “It would have been close between us.”
Dozens of professional drivers and motorcycle riders from all over the GCC were in action across six categories – Pro Modified, 4.8 Index, Pro Bike, Super Street Bike, Pro 6 and Super Street 8.
Fadi Tammour took the honors in the 4.8 Index, while Mohammed Bu Rashed took top spot in the Pro Bike category. Yaqoub Al Ali won the Street Bike class, Abdullah Rashid Al Ghafelli claimed the win in the Pro 6, and Majid Al Onzi finished first in the Street 8.
A crowd of varied ages and nationalities enjoyed the racing thrills and spills, which included the usual smoking tires and deafening engines, but also engine blow outs, oil spills, and drivers swerving dangerously close to the drag strip retaining walls.
It was the Pro Modified series they came to see. The cars are carbon fiber replicas of American muscle cars and use nitrous oxide to add horsepower to the engines, allowing them accelerate from 0-60mph in less than a second – quicker than a Formula 1 car. They are capable of speeds above 300mph.
Yousif Al Sayegh, Manager of the Yas Drag Racing Centre, said it was good to have drag racing back at Yas Marina after last season ended in May.
“It’s a very popular sport in this region and we’re seeing the amount of interest grow every year,” he said. “We had some delays with oil spills on the track, which we had to make sure were cleaned up properly for safety reasons, but we enjoyed some great racing.”
Pro Drag Racing returns to the Yas Drag Strip with Round Two on March 7-8. Yas Marina Circuit also hosts Open Drag Nights. For more information on the drag racing calendar at Yas Marina Circuit, visit www.yasmarinacircuit.com.
Notes to the Editor:
Yas Pro Drag Racing Series 2012/2013:
Round 1: 20-21 December, 2012
Round 2: 7-8 March, 2013
Round 3: 4-6 April, 2013
Round 4: 11-12 April, 2013
About Yas Marina Circuit:
Yas Marina Circuit is the United Arab Emirates’ most exciting sporting and entertainment venue. Located on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, the circuit is the home of the annual Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. With motorsport as its pulse and an extensive year-round programme of professional and grassroots motorsport events and experiences like Drag and Track Nights, the circuit has also emerged as a thriving hub of entertainment and community events in the UAE. As the region’s most dynamic and technologically advanced facility, the circuit is also a leading MICE venue, regularly hosting a diverse range of corporate meetings, conferences and events. Whether you want to experience the thrill of karting, driving an Aston Martin GT4 over 200km/hour on an F1 circuit, work towards your racing license at the Yas Racing School, get fit at Train Yas, or simply catch up with friends over burgers and shakes at Yas Central, there's something for everyone at Yas Marina Circuit.