Papantonis, Hamidaddin, Annivas take top honours in final day
Dubai, UAE, 19 March, 2016: Champions were crowned on the final day of the Dubai Autodrome Motorsport Club (DAMC) organised 2015-2016 NGK Racing Series at Yas Marina Circuit.
At the end of the two races on the day, Costas Papantonis was crowned champion in Class 1, Al-Qassim Hamidaddin won his first UAE championship in Class 2 and Alex Annivas clinched the Clio Cup title in the double points season finale.
The final two races of the NGK Racing Series saw Dragon Racing Ferrari driver Thani Hanna winning both times out, but the real focus was behind him where Class 2 and Clio Cup titles would be decided in the very last race of the season.
For Papantonis it was a mere formality as he had to start the race to claim the championship in Class 1 at the wheel of his Gulf Petrochem SEAT. Victory in both races wrapped up proceedings as he scored 240 points to win the title from Vauxhall driver Peter England.
Papantonis said, “We had a good season where the car was always good. I need to thank my sponsors Gulf Petrochem who made this campaign possible and of course my family. Also to Dubai Autodrome for putting on this championship in a professional and well run manner. See you next season.”
The permutations going into the final day of the Class 2 and Clio Cup battles were varied with Annivas poised to win both should he finish in the top three of Class 2, while Hamidaddin needed two wins and then be dependent on the maths.
A fierce contest ensued and Hamidaddin did what he needed to do to claim his first title with victories in both races. He said, “It was a great way to win the season. I needed to win both races and that’s what happened and I managed to get the title by one point.
“I blew a transmission before this race weekend and my new sponsor Aldrees helped me make it on to the grid. I am very happy. This is a really a well-run series, and now a great end to an incredible season.”
Fourth place in Race 2 was not the result Annivas wanted and thus he lost the Class 2 championship by a single point, nevertheless there was consolation in the fact that he did enough to take home the Clio Cup accolade for the season, beating Willie Morrison and Simon Dennis who each won a race at Yas Marina on the day, and finished tied for second in the championship with 209 points apiece.
Annivas summed up his bittersweet day, “After Race 1 where I finished second the plan was on track. In the last race I needed to post second place in Class 2 and I would have won both titles, but it didn’t happen. All in all a good day we won the Clio Cup championship and lost the Class 2 championship by a single point. Congratulations to the new champion.”
DAMC race and track executive Richa Mergulhao commented after the final race, “Racing was extremely close throughout the year, and it was encouraging to see a good field line-up on the grid. Anything could happen on the final day and it did! Congratulations to the new champions for their well-deserved titles.”
With the championship season done and dusted the NGK Racing Series competitors have one more race to look forward to before the summer break, the non-championship NGK 2-Hour Enduro on 1 April 2016.