By Sports Reporter/Doha
Saeed al-Sulaiti laid down the marker for his young rivals in the new season as the veteran rider clinched both the races in the opening round of the Qatar Superstock 600 at the Losail International Circuit yesterday.
Al-Sulaiti put on a dominant show in his Yamaha YZF-R6 as the 35-year-old won both the races in convincing fashion. In the first race, al-Sulaiti’s winning margin was +7.014 seconds, while in the second it was +6.548. Defending champion Abdullah al-Qubaisi and Meshaal al-Nuaimi finished second and third respectively, clearly outpaced by their rivals.
“I am very happy to win both races. I really worked hard with the team and we were able to work on a good bike. In the first race, I managed to make a good gap from the beginning. It was nice to win,” al-Sulaiti, who started from pole position in the 12-lap races.
“In the second race, Abdullah was difficult to keep pace with in the first few laps but I managed to keep my rhythm and then was consistent. In the middle of the race I kept the gap. Hopefully I can keep such performances and keep improving with the bike,” he added.
In the QSSP 300 class, Yousif al-Darwish edged out Saad al-Harqan for victory by just +0.470 seconds. Alexian Macary took the third spot. Al-Darwish had finished second in the Race 1 on Friday, while al-Harqan was third. Race 1 winner Hamad al-Sahouti had to be content with fourth spot yesterday.
In the Qatar Touring Car Championship, Abdullah al-Khelaifi and Ghanim al-Maadeed won a race each. The three-time QTCC champion al-Khelaifi was in a class of his own in Race 1 as he romped to victory. His winning margin over second-placed Ahmed al-Muhannadi was +14.945 seconds. Hamad al-Asam finished third.
Al-Maadeed, who had retired from Race 1 after four laps, won the second race, with al-Khelaifi finishing runner-up. Al-Muhannadi was third. “It feels very nice to be on the podium,” al-Maadeed said later.
“Last year, I had nine podiums out of 10. This year we couldn’t complete the first race but won the second. We had some issues. Hopefully the next round we will be targeting the podiums in both races. For next round, we will work harder,” he added.
QSTK 600 Race 1 (12 Laps, 64.6km)
1. Saeed al-Sulaiti (Yamaha YZF-R6) Total time: 25:07.832 seconds; 2. Abdulla al-Qubaisi (Yamaha YZF-R6) +7.014 ; 3. Mashel al-Naimi (Yamaha YZF-R6)
QSTK 600 Race 2 (12 Laps, 64.6km.)
1. Saeed al-Sulaiti (Yamaha YZF-R6) Time: 25:00.275 secs; 2. Abdulla al-Qubaisi (Yamaha YZF-R6-R6) +6.548 ; 3. Mashel al-Naimi (Yamaha YZF-R6) +15.355
QTCC 2K Race 1 (10 Laps, 53.8km.)
1. Abdulla al-Khelaifi (HONDA S2000) Time: 24:32.184 secs; 2. Ahmad Shaheen al-Muhannadi (HONDA CIVIC) +14.945; 3. Hamad al-Asam (HONDA DC5) +26.746
QSSP 300 Race 2 (7 Laps, 37.7km.)
1. Yousef al-Darwish (Kawasaki Ninja 400) Time: 16:37.016 secs; 2. Saad al-Harqan (Kawasaki Ninja 400) +0.470; 3. Alexian Macary (Kawasaki Ninja 400) +1.956
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