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Ali tops in ninth round of karting.

YAHYA Hassan Ali led an all-Bahraini seniors' podium in round nine of the Castrol Edge-sponsored Bahrain National Karting Championship held at Bahrain International Circuit's recently reconfigured Kart Zone in Sakhir.

Ali narrowly clinched victory after finishing the final race just one second ahead of compatriot and current championship leader Abbas Sarhan, who in turn was 0.5 seconds quicker than Ali Attiyah.

In the juniors' category, defending champion Omar Farid of Egypt led Bahraini Adam Salem and Briton Christian Yarwood to the finish. The youngster extended his advantage in the title standings to more than 200 points.

At the start of the evening's event, former Formula three driver and one-time UK Formula Ford Champion Gavin Halls appeared set to dominate the proceedings just 24 hours after a training incident required a complete rebuild and chassis replacement of his Forge Racing Rotax-powered kart.

During qualifying, the only driver able to cope with Halls' blistering pace was fellow UK racer Darren DeMattia, who pipped Halls to first place on the timesheets on his final lap.

On to the heat one, where after a clean rolling start, all 20 drivers made it through the first three turns. Entering the fourth, Halls brushed aside the challenges of Sarhan and Briton Lee Stones to emerge strongly in the lead. He opened the gap from the rest of the field to five seconds and was in control all the way to the chequered flag. Halls won the heat ahead of DeMattia and Stones, while Farid topped the junior runners.

Heat two saw a change in the seniors winners as DeMattia fought off Sarhan in a closely contested 12 laps. South African Wesley Carr and Ali Attiyah were fourth and fifth, respectively, while Halls dropped to sixth.

The juniors were led in by Salem ahead of Farid, but after consultation with officials, Salem was deemed to have infringed the stringent regulations and was time-relegated to second, handing Farid the win.

The 15 lap pre-final began with an all British front row, with DeMattia on pole and Halls on his left side.

After an eventful race that saw a black flag to Carr, it finished with Halls in first, followed by Sarhan, Ali and Al Attiyah; while the juniors pre-final was won by Farid, three-tenths of a second ahead of Salem.

That set the grid for the 20-lap final, with Halls in pole looking to take his first final win of the season.

The grid suggested a clean getaway for Halls, whilst Sarhan, Ali, Attiyah and another Bahraini, Tariq Al Mahal lined up behind. Coming into turn 11, it was the number eight kart of Ali who was trailing Halls, and despite an early push, he could not catch the Briton.

Entering turn three on lap 12, Halls came off the race line to avoid a back marker and realised he had run out of track and would not make turn four, giving way to a very surprised Ali who almost seemed to grow wings exiting turn five and making his run for home.

Ali was eventually the biggest benefactor of Halls' crucial mistake, leading his fellow countrymen home. Saudi Arabia's Mussad Al Kowaiter drove his Castrol-sponsored kart into fourth, while Al Mahal was fifth.

In the juniors final it was an exceptionally close finish but once again, with Farid beating Salem by a mere 0.25s.

Prizes were awarded to all the winners by Castrol Edge representative Ian Yarwood and Karting4Me general manager Sean Murphy.

Round 10 of the 17-round championship takes place tonight from 6pm at the same venue. For further information on the championship, visit, or for general enquiries on karting events, visit

Championship standings (top five after nine rounds):

Seniors: 1 Abbas Sarhan 719 points; 2 Yahya Hassan Ali 653 pts; 3 Lee Stones 638 pts; 4 Darren Demattia 616 pts; 5 Wesley Carr 611.

Juniors: 1 Omar Farid 791 pts; 2 Christian Yarwood 587 pts; 3 Alex Harrison 572 pts; 4 Richard Eyles 433 pts; 5 Adam Salem 415 pts.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Feb 7, 2010
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