DSC_9491The V8 Championship moved onto Round 3 which was to be held at the Al-Reem Circuit in Saudi Arabia. It was to be the first high-profile event to be held at the circuit and of course was the first race for Meezer Racing in their home country.

Meezer Racing Driver Coach Malcolm Edeson had already done some laps of the circuit so knew what to expect “it’s very technical and very different to anything else in the Middle-East, the cambers and elevation changes will be a real challenge for all drivers”

The first day was to feature a free-practice session and qualifying. It was encouraging to see Raed at the top of the timesheets as free-practice came to a close and the team were hopeful of pole-position.

QUALIFYING

Raed set an early marker with a very low 1:27 and then proceeded to register the fastest lap seen all weekend of a 1.26.9 almost a second faster than local driver Abdulaziz Al-Yaeesh. As it turned out Raed had set a number of very quick laps which saw him take pole position for both races with a back on form Abdulaziz taking 2nd position in both
races.

RACE 1

The V8 Championship features rolling starts and as the green light was given the thundering V8s headed towards turn 1, a very tight corner which the team were concerned about before the race, Driver Coach Malcolm Edeson said “It’s a heavy braking zone into a very slow right-hander, the drivers will need to be careful to judge their speed from the
rolling start and the potential for contact is very high, let’s hope everyone gets through there cleanly”.

Thankfully Raed and Abdulaziz dealt with it perfectly and a good run through the next few turns saw them with a good gap to the chasing pack who were fighting amongst themselves. By the end of lap one the gap was considerable and the rest of the race was a battle between Raed and Abdulaziz with Abdulaziz occasionally looking threatening but the

closing laps saw the gap extend as the Saudi drivers’ tyres began to give up their best. So, a great win for Raed Raffii in Race 1.

RACE 2

All the driver now had more experience of the track and all thought that race 2 would be much harder. Meezer Driver Coach Malcolm Edeson said “I think with 2 races in one day everyone was mindful to avoid damage, I’m sure the drivers’ will be going for it more in Race 2″.

Again Raed headed the field alongside Al-Yaeesh as the roar of the V8s sounded to 15 simultaneous right-feet stamped on the throttle pedals. This time Al-Yaeesh had drawn alongside and went for an audacious move around the outside of Turn 1 which paid off beautifully. A little too much speed saw Al-Yaeesh run wide at the Turn 4 hairpin and
Raed was able to power past the young Saudi. The cars were inches apart as they braked for the very tricky double left and a small tap from the Saudi driver pushed Raed offline which allowed him to gain the advantage as they approach the very fast left-right complex of Turns 6 & 7.

raeds-wheelRaed had to give best to Al-Yaeesh but in doing so was slowed into the corner allowing 2007/2008 Champion Fahad Al-Musalam to sneak alongside. Neither driver was going to give in and a side-by-side battle through and out of Turn 7 allowed Tarek ElGammal & Mohammed Al-Owais to pass both drivers. Raed tried hard to regain position and in the battle that followed made contact with Al-Owais in a 3-car Turn 1 battle. It was either this or the earlier contact with Al-Musalam that bent Raed’s steering and from then on the car was almost undriveable in right-hand turns. Raed lost 2 further positions whilst struggling with the wayward steering but valiantly fought back on the closing laps to repass those two drivers finally ! finishing in 6th position.

SUMMARY

The elation of Race 1 was dulled somewhat by the disappointment of Race 2 but points were still picked up and overall Raed is in a stronger position after the race than before. Coach Malcolm said “We are obviously disappointed with the result in race 2 but Raed did well to bring the car home and secure some points. The only thing certain in racing is
that nothing is certain. Yas Marina next were we hope Raed will again show the form that put him ahead of the rest of the Championship drivers in Qualifying”

The next race for the V8 Championship will be held at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu-Dhabi on 5-6th Feb 2010 supporting the GP2 Asia series. If you can make it please come along and support Meezer Racing Team and Raed Raffii as they strive to win the V8 Supercars Middle-East Championship.

DSC_9419

Meezer Racing Team http://www.MeezerTeam.com
V8 Supercars ME http://www.SupercarsME.com