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11 November 2017

Penalty agony for Keanu Al Azhari in Micro MAX while Jamie Day and Theo Kekati shine in Mini MAX


Once again the Team UAE junior drivers stepped up to the plate and delivered impressive performances, in their respective Finals, with Keanu Al Azhari crossing the finish line first in the Micro MAX class and Mini MAX duo Jamie Day and Theo Kekati finishing second and fourth respectively at the 2017 Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals, at the Kartdromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal.

Al Azhari, who established himself as the driver to beat in the Micro MAX class with pace setting displays all week. Starting from the front row the nine year old Dubai schoolboy made a great start to take an early lead, but by half distance he was reeled in by the pack and dropped a couple of places. But he kept his cool and fought his way back to the front where he stayed to the the chequered flag.

But after the race he was adjudged to have jumped the start and race stewards handed him a ten seconds penalty for the transgression which turned what would have been a well deserved victory into 14th place.

Al Azhari's demotion promoted French champion Louis Iglesias to the top step of the podium.

In the Mini MAX category Jamie Day started from second place on the grid but was engulfed by the pack as the field sped off the line, while teammate Theo Kekati made a superb start from seventh to fourth at the end of the first lap.

Kekati, who improved with every session during the course of the week, was soon in second place and set about pursuing the leader as Day picked his way towards the front.

What followed was a four way battle for the lead with drivers swapping positions on every lap. In the end it was Frenchman Marcus Armand who managed to cling on to take the victory, with Day tucked into his slipstream in second, ahead of Australian James Wharton in third and Kekati in fourth - less than a second covering the top four as they crossed the finish line nose to tail.

Team UAE manager Guy Sheffield summed up: "Motorsport can at times very cruel... Keanu was a little star in the way he 'won' the Micro MAX final only to be penalised for a marginal start infringement. He fought off a chasing pack and did everything he had to do to be the champion. But rules are rules and 14th is what he has to show when everyone at these Finals know who the true champion is. We are all very proud of Keanu, who despite the disappointment showed tremendous spirit after the race and took the penalty like a true champion, without complaints. We all know he will do plenty more winning in the future."

"Jamie and Theo were also tremendous in the Mini MAX final. Jamie fighting back after tripping up at the start to finish second in a thrilling race. Theo was a revelation in the Final as he made a great start and at one stage latching on to second place. The four-way battle that ensued had the crowd on their feet. From seventh, on the grid packed with Mini MAX champions from around the world, to fourth is a good one for his racing CV."


Keanu Al Azhari in action during the Micro MAX Grand Final

Theo Kekati in action during Mini MAX Grand Final

Jamie Day in action during Mini MAX Grand Final


Rotax MAX Challenge 2017 Grand Finals

Eleven drivers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are based in the seaside town of Portimao, in Portugal, for the Rotax MAX Grand Finals which takes place at the Kartdromo Inetrnacional do Algarve from 5 to 11 November 2017.

The team consists of the UAE's best Rotax MAX drivers from the 2016/2017 season, among them several champions, who will come up against the best drivers in the world in this series of karting.

The group join 360 drivers, from 60 nations, competing in this prestigious karting event to determine who will be this year's Rotax MAX world champions.

Team UAE consists of Emirati racer Amna Al Qubaisi in the MAX category, father and son Kevin and Jamie Day in the DD2 Masters and Mini MAX respectively, brothers Jakob and Lachlan Robinson in DD2 and Junior MAX, DD2 Masters Tony Hogg and Kyle Blockley, Lucas Petersson in DD2, Liam Crystal in Junior MAX, Theo Kekati in Mini MAX and Keanu Al Azhari, son of multiple UAE racing champion Karim Al Azhari, in the Micro MAX class.

Travelling with Team UAE is Omani DD2 driver Abdullah Al Rawahi as well as Bahraini champion Khaled Al Saei in the MAX Class.

The first Rotax MAX Grand Finals were held in 2000 in Puerto Rico and since then has become a regular fixture on the international karting calendar. Dubai based Sean Babington won the DD2 title in 2014 as part of Team UAE.

 Useful links:

Live Streaming>>>

Official UAE Rotax Max Challenge Facebook Page for updates>>>

Al Ain Raceway Facebook Page>>>

Al Ain Raceway Instagram Page>>>

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