The second round of the 2018/19 Gulf Radical Cup was challenging from both the perspective of plus 50C track surface temperatures and close competition. Six local race teams had entered 17 drivers who would be driving identical 240bhp Radical SR3s running on Hankook slicks, a very good start to the new season.
The combination of Yas Marina Circuit instructor Shibin Yousaf and Finish racer Jani Hjerppe (Dream Racing) proved unbeatable again - but only just! Russian driver Sergey Shalunov had a great race strategy courtesy of his Team GulfSport’s two time LeMans winning driver coach Tommy Erdos which saw Shalunov take and hold the lead after his pit stop, exiting the pits just ahead of his team mate Ian Roberts.
Unfortunately Shalunov found himself inexplicably in neutral coming onto the back straight on the very last lap of the race which allowed Hjerppe to take the lead and win the race. Hjerppe admitted to Shalunov that without that mistake he would not have been able to get past.
South African driver Sean Simpson had a very strong run to take a creditable 3rd place for Dream Racing with Ian Roberts (Team GulfSport) overtaking two competitors to finish 4th.
The race was action packed as ex-motorcycle racer James Edmeads (D5 Racing with AUH) got through Turn 1 ahead of the pack, but it was the experienced Tarek El Gammel who came round to lead the first lap and opened up a sizeable lead going into the pit stop to hand over to Hamdan Al Ghaferi (Dream Racing). After taking over from Edmeades, Jeff Curtis would go on to finish in 5th place ahead of Al Ghaferi and Elgammal.
Konstantin Tatulov (B Tuning with AUH) and Amir Feyzullin (AUH) came in 8th and 9th respectively with rookie drivers Neal Clark and Fran Cush (Team GulfSport) having a very successful first event by completing both races as they got to grips with driving a Radical SR3 on a very difficult 5,555 metre long GP circuit with 21 corners! Mikhail Stepanov (B Tuning with AUH) retired his car after 9 laps and Dragos Dumitrascu (AUH) was a non-starter due to damage sustained in a high speed failure in qualifying.
Fastest lap was set by Hjerppe on lap 16 at 2:17.613
Rounds 3 & 4 will take place at the Dubai Autodrome on 16th November.