Dubai, 1 December, 2015: Double F1 world champion Fernando Alonso, fresh from his race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, dropped in to visit the Dubai Kartdrome on Monday night for Round 15 of the 2015 SWS Sprint Series and decided to join in the action.
Despite having little experience in the Sodi RX7 karts the McLaren F1 driver was quickly on the pace, qualifying second fastest behind perennial front runner Rami Azzam.
In the race Alonso kept pace with the leaders, but his lack of track time in the leisure karts saw him finish fifth in Race 1 and fourth in Race 2 – and always in contention for a top spot. He also set the fastest lap of the SWS season – 1:10.592 – in the final race.
The real winners were all the drivers on the night who will have bragging rights forever that they raced with the Spaniard, considered one of the great drivers of the modern era.
The battle for top honours was intense with Ali Al Mansoori, Husain Umid Ali, Rami Azzam and Saeed Al Mehairi all in the thick of the action.
Al Mansoori did enough to claim the big trophy on the night by finishing second in Heat 1 and then winning Heat 2, with Azzam second overall after winning the first heat and crossing the line third in the second heat.
Umid Ali’s fourth place and second place, in Heat 1 and Heat 2 respectively, was enough for third place overall.
In the SWS Masters class Adrian Jones took top honours ahead of second placed Hassan Ayub and Anthony Hirst in third.
Earlier in the evening Alex Connor scored two wins in the SWS Junior class and with it bagged maximum points.
In Race 1, Connor was run close by Jakub Fitzsimmons in second, with Zaid Alami third, while in Race 2 Danny Shields chased Connor all the way to the flag, the pair a mere half a second apart as they crossed the line ahead of Seif Al Naggar in third.
When the points were tallied up it was Connor on the top step of the podium, with Fitzsimmons second and Shields third – the trio thrilled to be presented with their trophies by F1 double world champion Fernando Alonso.
Kartdrome’s David Bright summed up proceedings: “It was another exciting night of SWS Sprint races, with the presence of Fernando Alonso a highlight of the evening. Our drivers getting the privilege and honour of racing and interacting with such a legend was unforgettable.
“He showed his true colours and passion for the sport as he lined up on the grid in the Kartdrome race suit and simply got on with the racing without any airs and graces. He has made many friends from the karting community here in Dubai.”