Al Sulaiti, Al Naimi brace for decisive battle
17 May 2017 - 23:12
By Fawad Hussain / The Peninsula
With the championship still undecided, a tough battle for the Superstock 600 title between Saeed Al Sulaiti and Mashel Al Naimi is on the cards at the Losail International Circuit this weekend.
Apart from the Superstock 600, the Qatar Touring Car Championship title will also be decided in Losail on Saturday.
Al Sulaiti and Al Naimi shared victories in the last round of Qatar Superstock 600 leaving the battle for the title wide open.
However, Al Sulaiti who has so far accumulated 210 points will go into the final race with a five-point lead.
But, the seasoned Qatari rider will go into the decisive race aware of the fact that a mistake can cost him dearly.
"I am looking forward to this final round where the championship title will be decided. I am only 5 points ahead of Mishal and it will be crucial not to make any mistake in order to get the championship," Al Sulaiti said ahead of the race, expecting a tough challenge from his rival in he final round.
"I know it will be a tight battle with Mishal," he said.
"I would like to extend my gratitude to my sponsor Ooredoo for supporting me and QMMF and Losail Circuit Sports Club for this championship," he added.
Al Naimi, who will enter the race five points behind Al Sulaiti, is confident ahead of the final round.
"I am very focused on the last round of the championship and try to win the title. For sure there will be another thrilling fight on the track with Saeed and Nasser," he said.
"After the last track day I have a good feeling with the bike and I will try to stay positive towards both races to clinch the QSTK600 title," he added.
Nasser Al Malki who has 169 points is almost set to retain his third position in the championship.
However, another exciting battle is expected between Abdulla Al Qubaisi, Ali Al Shammari and Fahad Al Sowaidi who are battling for the fourth place in the standings.
Al Qubaisi is currently holding the fourth place with 120 points - only 2 points ahead of Al Shammari (5th) with 118 points. Al Sowaidi is in sixth place with 101 points.
The track activity will start at 16:00 tomorrow with the Free Practice 1 and the Free Practice 2 will take place at 18:45.
Superpole 1 is scheduled at 20:45 and Superpole 2 at 21:10. The Race 1 will start at 17:20 and Race 2 at 19:35 tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Losail International Circuit will also see the winner of Qatar Touring Car Championship this weekend.
In the previous round, Mahmoud Al Khalaf ended the winning streak of the championship leader Abdulla Al Khelaifi as he won the second race of the fifth round. Al Khelaifi has won 9 races out of 10 and with 145 points, he has an advantage of 21 points ahead of Mansour Al Hajri, who has 124 points.
"I am looking forward to the last round. Even though I have a gap of 21 points ahead of Mansour, I have to compete safely not to make any mistake that can cost me the title," said Al Khelaifi.
"I only need to qualify above my main competitor Mansour to secure the championship. It will be an interesting round for sure," he added. Omran Karama is in third place with 110 points and Mahmoud Al Khalaf who has 100 points is in fourth place.
"Having missed one round I will be pushing very hard this weekend to have a chance of passing Omran and securing third championship overall," he said.
"I think it will be a one competitive round as most drivers are up to speed by now and most are fighting for the top three places," Al Khalafi added..