Mohammed Mattar was the star of the night in a drama-filled, record-setting first round of the 2018-’19 Bahrain Karting Sprint Championships (BKSC), held at Bahrain International Karting Circuit (BIKC) in Sakhir.
Mattar raced to an impressive victory in the hotly contested Max class of the Bahrain Rotax Mojo Max Challenge (BRMMC).
Also claiming wins were Osama Azoouka in the Max-Master category, Fahad Alkhaled in the Junior class, Luca Kane Houghton in the Micro division and Shanthosh Kumar amongst the Mini karters.
It was an historic event to flag off the BKSC season, with a record total of 29 drivers suiting up for a red hot evening of racing. There was also a record number of five entrants, namely Absolute Racing, DoJoMotor Racing, DRT, ED Racing Team and Racing Bahrain.
Mattar, competing with Racing Bahrain, clinched first place in the 15-lap Max Final in a total time of 14 minutes 06.693 seconds. He was followed closely by teammate Hussain Hasan who was classified 7.151s behind.
Hasan had a marvelous race, setting a new lap record from all national karting races with a time of 55.965s around BIKC’s 1.414-kilometre CIK Track. Furthermore, Hasan battled back after starting the finale from the back of the grid following an accident in the Pre-Final.
Najashi Rashdan of DRT Racing claimed the final podium place after completing the Max sprint 8.167s from Mattar.
Rounding out the Max finishers from fourth through eighth place, respectively, were Racing Bahrain’s Khaled Abdullah, Absolute’s Raed Raffii, Muayyad Albandi of DoJoMotor and Yasmin Madani of DRT.
Meanwhile, Azoouka triumphed in the Max-Master class in 14:41.390. The Absolute Racing driver finished ahead of ED Racing’s Essa Aldossary, who was 6.863s behind. Shane Cooper claimed third 23.186s back.
In the 15-lap Junior Final, Alkhaled inherited the victory from Kuwaiti Sulaiman Alkandari, who had originally taken the chequered flag but was handed a 10-second penalty for a jump-start.
Alkhaled, of DoJoMotor Racing, won in 14:23.383, followed 7.185s behind by Absolute’s Omar Al Dereyaan. Alkandari had to settle for third place, while Fahad Al Muqla of DoJoMotor and Abdullah Aldossery of ED Racing were fourth and fifth.
In the nine-lap Micro Final, Luca claimed his victory in 9:38.530. The up-and-coming DoJoMotor driver was 3.197s ahead of runner-up Gracie Rose Grantham, who steered her Absolute Racing Team to the finish just 3.197s behind the victor. Gracie’s teammate Louis Safa completed the podium placers 27.775s from first.
Nawaf Al Muqla of DoJoMotor and Khalid Alnajjar of Absolute completed the Micro classification.
In the nine-lap Mini Final, Shantosh triumphed in a time of 9:12.442 to give his DoJoMotor Racing team their third category win of the evening. Kalan Vine followed in second 3.155s back, while Matteo Quintarelli of Absolute was not far behind in third, 3.260s from Shantosh. The Absolute pair of Xanda Topp and Jacob Topp finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
At the end of all the racing, the winning drivers and entrants were awarded their respective trophies in a podium ceremony attended by BIKC and Bahrain International Circuit officials.
This BKSC season will consist of seven rounds. Following the season-opener, round two will be held on November 9, to be followed by round three on December 8, which will be the last of the calendar year. Round four kicks off 2019 on January 4, and then round five takes place more than a month later on February 8. The penultimate round of the championship is then scheduled for March 15, paving the way for the season finale on April 5.
This year’s BRMMC will crown two champions: the first for the driver and the other for the entrant/team. Aside from the BRMMC, the BKSC will also feature action in the Bahrain Sodi Sprint World Series at BIKC.