Doha, Qatar : Saeed Al Sulaiti and Abdullah Al Khelaifi started their title defence in the Qatar Superstock 600 and Qatar Touring Car Championship respectively in impressive fashion at Losail International Circuit on Friday.
In Qatar Superstock 600, Al Sulaiti took the first pole of the season and in the process clocked a lap time of 2:04.438. Mashel Al Naimi finished in 2:05.296 and Abdullah Al Qubaisi was third (2:05.321).
‘I am really happy to be in first position in today sessions and get the Superpole. Compared to last week in the official test, I feel much better with the injury in my finger and actually, I didn’t expect to be in front with this lap time. Of course, the race will be difficult tomorrow with 12 laps and I believe there will be a good fight between Abdullah, Mishal and myself so let’s see tomorrow’ said Al Sulaiti.
Although Al Naimi couldn’t fix the problems with the front tyre from last week, he is satisfied with his second position ‘Overall I am happy with this result. I managed to find a good set up in the Superpole with the used tyre but still have some problem with the front tyre as it happened last week during the official practice. Tomorrow in the warm-up we will try to do something different in the front fork’ said Al Naimi.
Al Qubaisi tried to make a good time in the free practice 2 and at the Superpole he managed to do the third best time, only 0.025 behind Al Naimi.
In the QSTK Trophy, the fastest rider was Jassim Al Thani with a time of 2:09.293 with Kuwaiti rider Mohammed Al Zaidan and Hassan Al Mansoori in second and third place respectively in their category.
‘For me, the new season is a new beginning for me. I started with a good timing, I trained very well in the off-season and I am ready to compete for the win. For tomorrow, I will start in a good position and I will try to keep this place and hopefully compete with QSTK riders’ commented Al Thani.
In the Qatar Touring Car Championship, Abdullah Al Khelaifi, although driving a new car, managed to secure the pole position with a lap time of 2:25.368.
‘I am very happy to be back. I have a new car for this championship and after the free practice, I had minor issues that were solved luckily and now I am ready to race. There is still a small set up to be done for tomorrow but even with this, I managed to qualify first but I have to work hard as the newcomers are very strong, they are here to win, so it will be a really tough championship’ commented Al Khelaifi.
A total of twelve cars took part in the first round and the newcomer drivers proved to be very strong and will fight for the championship title. Ahmed Alasiri finished second with a lap time of 2:26.548 and Nasser Al Ahbabi ended in third place with a time of 2:28.066.
The QSTK Race 1 starts at 11:30 am on Saturday with the Race 2 scheduled for 2:30 pm. In QTCC, the first race will start at 1 pm while the second race will start at 4 pm.
Qatar Superstock 600 and Qatar Touring Car Championship are organized by Losail Circuit Sports Club and Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation with Pirelli Qatar as the sponsor.