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THE recent second round of National Race Day at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) produced plenty of thrills in the three local championships and a touch of controversy.
Raed Himmo, a former champion and perennial contender in the BIC 2,000cc Challenge, emerged victorious in the meeting’s first race and the second race remains under official scrutiny.
Himmo was engaged in a tough battle for the number one spot and eventually claimed a win in race one. Driving a Honda Civic, he took control after former champion and pole-sitter Shaikh Salman bin Isa bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, also in a Civic, retired from the race in the seventh lap.
Himmo charged to the lead and completed the 12-lap sprint in 16:03.641, just 5.407s ahead of Ahmed Bin Khanen in a Honda Civic EG4. Defending champion Tim Birkin in a Honda Integra came third 9.307s behind.
Race 2 witnessed unfortunate driver Tareq Al-Tajer having to stop on the track with a broken throttle cable. Five nose-to-tail competitors missed the yellow flag being waved as a warning of an incident ahead and telling them to slow and not pass each other, and then double yellows flags instructing them to slow right down.
Other incidents are also being investigated and the drivers concerned are waiting to find what penalties they will receive and where they will be eventually be placed.
There have been calls from the drivers for the race marshal posts to be relocated for better visibility and that is also under consideration, GulfWeekly has been told.
All the action took place along the 2.55km Inner Track of BIC, beginning in the day time and then ending under floodlights at night.
On two wheels, Ahmed Al Muyni stole the show after clinching a rare ‘double-double’, winning all four races from two different motorbike categories, namely the Bahrain Superbike Championship (BSBK) and the Bahrain Motorcycle Racing (BMR) 600.
Al Muyni was in a class of his own with a clean sweep of both races in the BSBK and BMR 600. In the BSBK, after topping the timesheets in qualifying to earn pole position for race one, he won the 11-lap opening sprint in a total time of 12 minutes 54.977 seconds – 6.924 seconds ahead of runner-up Wesley Pearce. Salman Khalaf came third 14.638s back.
Race two featured the same podium, with Al Muyni taking the chequered flag 3.307s ahead of Pearce and Khalaf finishing 13.456s behind.
In the BMR 600, Al Muyni topped the field in qualifying and once again secured the leading position at the start grid. He made no mistake in defending his place despite plenty of pressure from rival Mohammad Al Zaidan. Only 0.327s split the pair at the end of race one, who were well ahead of the rest of the riders. Nasser Al Khadra came third a significant 32.976s back. They made up the top three in the race’s Super Stock category.
In the Hornet class, Mohammed Al Ateeqi was victorious. He was followed by Pawel Rosciszewski and Ahmad Abdulsalam. In race two, the same trio finished in the same order as the first race, although Al Muyni enjoyed a more comfortable victory having a 14.585s gap in front of Al Zaidan by the finish. Al Khadra was classified third 33.309s behind. The Hornet class also had the same podium-placers, with Al Ateeqi, Rosciszewski and Abdulsalam taking the top three.
Following all the racing, the day’s known winners were honoured in a podium ceremony attended by officials from BIC, the Bahrain Motor Federation and Circuit Racing Club.