Dubai, UAE, 22 February 2020: The fourth round of the NGK UAE ProCar Championship got into action on Friday (21 February) at Dubai Autodrome in support of a full weekend of racing headlined by the F4UAE Championship. While the usual suspects controlled the front of the ProCar pack, the Renault Clio Cup midfield slugged it out for class honours.
The first race featured a familiar dance of dragons, with Dragon Racing’s #77 Lamborghini, driven by GTA championship leader Jim Geddie, and the #88 Ferrari 488 of Leon Price jockeying for position to control the contest, followed by duelling TCRs, with the TCR Cupra Leon of Costas Papantonis (#1) taking on the Seat Leon Super Copa of Alexandros Annivas (#9).
Technical problems with Price’s Ferrari ended the drama up front, leaving Geddie unhindered for the rest of the race; the Huracan ST strolled in well ahead of the field, taking the chequered flag and cementing Geddie’s claims on the GTA Class.
Papantonis was assured another TCR victory, taking second position overall, 22.376 seconds ahead of Mouhritsa Racing teammate Annivas.
The Clio Cup category featured a trio of Renaults battling for class supremacy, with championship leader Mohammed Abdulghaffar Hussain (#76) of Rent2Race holding off veteran Rahil Taneja (#10) of AUH Motorsports and the up-an-coming prodigy of GPX, Amna Al Qubaisi.
With Dragon captain Leon Price out of the line-up for Race Two, Jim Geddie had little to do but put his foot down and keep the car intact for the duration of the contest. Annivas briefly had the upper hand in the TCR battle, but after a few laps Papantonis resumed his rightful place on the TCR throne and P2 overall.
The top three remained unchanged from the first race, leaving the Clios to put on a show. Marcelina Czepiel (#54) of AUH Motorsports is another rising ProCar star to keep an eye on and the Polish driver, with #PAPARELAX emblazoned the side of her Renault, certainly gave papa something to cheer about in the opening laps, leading the Clio Cup brigade out of the gates.
Czepiel displayed some gutsy defending against Taneja and Hussain, but she was slowly reeled in and then finally overtaken by both pursuers. Taneja emerged victorious from the three-way struggle, taking the class victory by 4.616 seconds over Hussain.
Airlink International Driver of the Day
In addition to his Clio Cup trophy from Race Two, Rahil Taneja of AUH Motorsports also went home with an extra AED 1000 in his pocket, courtesy of the Airlink International Driver of the Day Award, presented to the Indian driver for coming out on top of an exciting battle with Mohammed Abdulghaffar Hussain and Marcelina Czepiel.
Report & Photos: Aaron Meriwether