Racing Bahrain eked out a dramatic victory in an immensely gripping first round of the 2018/2019 Bahrain Karting Enduro Championship (BKEC), held Saturday evening at Bahrain International Karting Circuit (BIKC) in Sakhir.

The three-hour event was hotly contested by a massive 21-kart field, and the ending could not have been any more heart-stopping as only nine-hundredths of a second separated the top two finishers at the chequered flag.

With top local talents Abdulla Buhindi and Khalid Alsaei behind the wheel of their 390cc Sodi GT4R go kart, Racing Bahrain claimed the narrowest of victories over Go Bahrain as both teams finished with a total of 132 laps, with Racing Bahrain taking first place by a mere 0.091 seconds.

The two teams were battling head-to-head from the very start of the meeting, with Racing Bahrain topping the timesheets during Qualifying Practice and Final Qualifying Top 10. But then Go Bahrain, represented by Raed Raffii and Rashed Almuammari, eventually clinched pole position with a 0.043-second gap from Racing Bahrain, who qualified third.

Ice Racing, featuring Ahmed Kooheji and Qamar Saleem, started in second position having nearly clinched pole but only barely missing out with a best lap that was 0.004 seconds off the pace.

By the end of the event, six teams had completed 132 laps around BIKC’s 1.414-kilometre Commission Internationale de Karting Track, but only Racing Bahrain and Go Bahrain were in contention for the win. Claiming the final podium step was Bapco Sadeem with Abdulla Al Thawadi and Osama Albuflasa, who were a distant 41.730s from first place.

Taking fourth overall were Ithmaar Bank (+51.570s) with Ali Baslar and Khalid Alwazzan, while fifth and sixth, respectively, were Racing Bahrain Jr (+51.775s) featuring Hussain Hassan and Khalifa Yaqoobi and Ice Racing (+53.899s).

Apart from their victory in the race’s overall classification, Racing Bahrain were also first place in the Pro category. Bapco Sadeem added to their overall podium in third with the runner-up spot in this class, while Racing Bahrain JR were third.

Go Bahrain may have missed out on the overall victory but they did triumph in the Nations category. Bapco Lubes with Faisal Al Shafei and Talal Beshara were second while in third were SLD with Muteb Alsaqhan and Salman Sulaiman.

In the Corporate class, Ithmaar Bank were the winners, with SLD Pakistan featuring Abubaker Ali and Usman Ali coming second, and Redline Racing with Paul Lecaillon and Sultan Khayat finishing third.

Meanwhile, to add to their podium appearances, Go Bahrain registered the race’s fastest lap of one minute 13.016 seconds.

Following the event, all the winners were presented their respective trophies in a podium ceremony.

The 2018/2019 BKEC features four hugely exciting rounds of varying durations. Round two is scheduled to take place as a six-hour event on December 1.

The third round is then set for two days on January 26 and 27, and it will be a 12-hour race. That leads up to the year’s ultimate challenge, the championship finale and the most highly anticipated event of the season: the 24-hour fourth round, on the weekend of March 1 and 2.

The BKEC is a part of the national karting season, which also features the Bahrain Karting Sprint Championship.

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION (category indicated): 1 Racing Bahrain (Pro) 132 laps, 2 Go Bahrain (Nat) 132 laps, 3 Bapco Sadeem (Pro) 132 laps, 4 Ithmaar Bank (Cor) 132 laps, 5 Racing Bahrain Jr (Pro) 132 laps, 6 Ice Racing (Pro) 132 laps, 7 Bapco Lubes (Nat) 131 laps, 8 SLD Pakistan (Cor) 131 laps, 9 Redline Racing (Cor) 131 laps, 10 Bapco Motorsport (Cor) 131 laps, 11 SLD (Nat) 131 laps, 12 Redline Racing 2 (Cor) 131 laps, 13 Circuit Racing (Nat) 131 laps, 14 K5 (Nat) 130 laps, 15 Pedal to the Metal (Pro) 130 laps, 16 Redline Racing 3 (Pro) 130 laps, 17 Saudi Asphalt Knights (Pro) 129 laps, 18 Manama Drift (Cor) 129 laps, 19 Bapco Engineering (Nat) 129 laps, 20 Redline ANZAC (Pro) 126 laps, 21 Black Smith Racing (Pro) 116 laps.

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