At the end of the official 30 min free practice session Ian Loggie and George King topped the time sheets, but would the weekend go the way of King as in all the previous 3 rounds!
The following morning all cars rolled out for the Sprint Race qualifying session. Each driver has to set two fast laps, one each to make up their starting position for Sprint Race 1 and 2.
As the session came towards a close it was King sitting on Pole with Loggie just behind him and Bukhanstov third, separated only by 0.2 of a second. All pushing on the last lap, and it was Bukhantsov who jumped ahead on a 2.02.371 and taking his first Pole position from King and Loggie. However King stopped on track on the way back to the pits, was this a sign of an issue?
Sure enough when the cars rolled out of the pits for Sprint Race 1, there was no King and also no Feyzulin, both suffering engine issues. King was out of his car and now walking to the grid, where as Feyzulin was not, his TTR mechanics franticly changing the engine, in just under 90 mins. It wasn’t quite quick enough to make the grid, but he was sat ready to go from the pit lane.
So Bukh was all alone on the front row as they rolled around turn 16 to the start line, but it was Ian Loggie who got away better and into turn turn he nosed ahead. James Sweetnam, from 4th was now alongside Bukh as they went round the fast turn 2-3 complex and further pushing Bukh to 3rd.
Further back in the pack Ian Roberts spun at turn 1, and was collected hard by the 777 car of Damian Ciosek. Roberts was able to drive away, although straight to the pits, while Ciosek was stranded on track with his damaged SR3XX. Safety car was deployed….
Johnny Kazzoum had also got past Bukh just before the safety car was deployed and as it pulled into the pits they all set off down to turn one. Everyone seemed to hold their places through turn 1, but as they race round to turn 9 Bukh and Khazzoum came together, taking Kazzoum out of the race.
Meanwhile back at the front, Loggie was pushing hard to pull a gap over Sweetnam with Bukh, following in 3rd.
AlKazemi was hunting down Alhameedi to try and snatch 4th place, they traded places in and out of turn 10.
Meanwhile Bukh was right on the tail of Sweetnam, and with 8 mins to go he finally gets passed, but with more than 4 seconds to pull back to Ian Loggie it was going to be a challenge.
Zaair Moorad and Jacopo Mazza we also trading places for the battle for 6th and 7th, allowing Feyzulin to pull away in 5th having started from the pit lane.
At the end of the 25 minutes it was indeed Loggie taking his first Gulf Radical Cup win! Bukh was second over the line, but with a 10 second penalty for track limit infringements it was Sweetnam to assume the second step of the podium, Bukh taking 3rd and 4th for Alkazemi.
A couple of hours later, and it was Sprint Race 2! King now with his new Radical Works spare engine fitted, was back on the grid!
As they roared over the start line it was King making a great start and gliding into first place round turn 1, Loggie slotting in behind with Bukh third.
Sweetnam had dropped back a few places and while trading spots just made contact with Mazza, forcing him in to the pits and out of the race.
Meanwhile King was trying to pull away from Loggie, but Loggie wasn’t letting go!
Alkazemi was leading a train of 7 cars in P5, with Alhameedi closest and looking to make a move in to turn 10.
But with 9 minutes to go the pressure from Loggie paid off and King made a very un characteristic error by out braking himself in to the turn 10, allowing Loggie to get right on him. Running out of turn 12 they were absolutely nose to tail, Loggie going for the move side by side through turns 14, 15 and 16. But amazingly not making contact and Loggie taking the lead as they run down to turn 1.
Loggie was able to hold this all the way to the line. Further back, Mazza slid up the inside of Alkazemi into turn 12, but under yellow flags he was later penalised and Alkazemi kept the place.
So, it was Loggie taking a second win of the weekend, with King in second and Bukh taking third.
Notably Ian Roberts had worked his way from the back of the grid, cleared the mid pack and took a great 5th place.
The following day as usual sees the qualifying session for the Enduro race. After a shaky start to the session with some technical gremlins, King was able to pip Loggie to his 9th pole of the season.
As the drivers rolled around the last corner to start the 45 minute Endurance race, it was again King taking the advantage and getting into the lead, Loggie second and Bukh third. Sweetnam was squeezed by Alkazemi sending him into a spin and then Roberts spinning off at turn 7.
Sweetnam headed in to the pits with suspension damage but Roberts carried on and was chasing down the back of the back.
Things seemed to steady as the drivers approached the pit window, with King having a 15 second penalty it was going to be impossible for him to come out of the pits and retain the lead, with Loggie only a second behind and Bukh right behind Loggie.
First in was Alkazemi and Alhameedi, then Moorad. Moorad made a very efficient pit stop and jumped up further from his 13th place start.
With a few minutes to spare King and Bukh dived into the pits, but Loggie carried round for another lap. With Kings penalty, Bukh was able to jump up to second. But Loggie was late and entered the pits after the pit window had closed, resulting in a drive through penalty.
So, Alex Bukh takes his first win of the series, with King second and great third place for Jacopo Mazza.
While Moorad had worked his way up to 7th, and with penalties for Alkazemi and Alhamedi he takes a well deserved 5th.
King retains his lead in the series with 216 points to Loggie on 122. Alex Bukh now bumps Khazzoum down to 4th to take 3rd, with Team Pakistan in 5th.
A couple of weeks off now and then back to Yas GP circuit on the 26th and 27th of February.