Mohammed Mattar, Santhosh Kumar and Ali Baslar were all victorious on Saturday as they kicked off their respective title-defences in the Bahrain Karting Sprint Championship (BKSC).
The curtain-raising round held at Bahrain International Karting Circuit (BIKC) in Sakhir featured action in the Bahrain Rotax Mojo Max Challenge (BRMMC) and the Bahrain Sprint Sodi World Series (BSSWS), both under the umbrella of the BKSC.
Mattar and Kumar headlined the group of winners in the BRMMC while Baslar triumphed amongst the BSSWS runners.
BIKC’s 1.414-kilometre Commission Internationale de Karting-Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (CIK-FIA) track hosted all the day’s action.
Mattar, the defending champion in the BRMMC’s Senior Max class, needed every bit of his poise and experience to claim his victory as he was pressed until the very end in a hotly contested final race. Competing for Praga Middle East Racing, Mattar eked out the win by just 0.069 seconds ahead of runner-up Fahad Al Khaled of BirelArt Bahrain.
The pair had been engaged in a tight battle since their pre-final, but Mattar was able to squeeze out the win with a finishing time of 14mins 06.152secs over 15 laps.
Mattar’s teammate Omar Al Dereyaan was also in the fight for first place, but he had to settle for third although was just 0.604secs adrift.
Meanwhile, young Santhosh picked up where he left off as the reigning champion of the Mini Max class. He raced to the win in his nine-lap final in a total time of 9mins 08.917secs. The BirelArt Bahrain pair of Tye Mejia and Luca Kane Houghton were second and third, respectively.
Elsewhere in the BRMMC season-opener, Abdullah Aldossery won the Junior Max class, Osama Azzouka triumphed in the Max Master, and Gracie Rose Grantham claimed first place in the Micro Max final.
Aldossery, competing for ED Racing, completed his 15-lap final in 14mins 15.651secs, 4.218secs ahead of BirelArt Bahrain’s Fahad Almuqla. Lewis Smith of Praga Middle East Racing was third 11.971secs back.
Azzouka, also suited up for Praga Middle East Racing, emerged victorious after a tight battle in the Max Masters final race. He had a winning time of 14mins 20.815secs over 15 laps, and was just 1.058secs in front of BirelArt Bahrain’s Fred Clark in second and 1.938secs ahead of ED Racing’s Essa Aldossery in third.
Gracie Rose was dominant as she led two of her Praga Middle East Racing teammates onto the Micro Max podium. She captured the chequered flag in 9mins 40.031secs at the end of nine laps. Khaled Alnajjar followed 6.057secs behind and Rashid Al Khalifa was third 11.221secs back.
In the BSSWS, there was a thrilling ending to the final as Baslar won by the narrowest of margins, with only 0.052secs separating him from runner-up Abdulla Buhindi. The close finish was expected as the pair were also first and second in the pre-final, where only 0.083secs came between them.
Baslar completed the 15-lap decider in 18mins 14.987secs. Behind the top two was Yusuf Karimi in third 2.127secs off the winning pace.
Following all the action, the winners in both the BRMMC and BSSWS were presented their trophies in a podium ceremony attended by BIC and BIKC officials. Action in the BKSC is being held over seven rounds this 2019/2020 season. Round Two is scheduled to take place on November 2, followed by Round Three on November 30, which will be the last of the calendar year. Round Four will kick 2020 off on January 11, and then Round Five is set for February 8. The sixth and penultimate meeting of the season will then be held on March 7, leading up to the championship-finale on April 4.