Shaikh Salman dominates with impressive season-opening double... Former champion has perfect meeting as 2020/2021 BIC 2,000cc Challenge flags off in Sakhir

Sunday, Oct 4th 2020, 12:31 pm | Category: National Race Day

Shaikh Salman bin Isa bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa wasted no time in making his presence felt in the 2020/2021 BIC 2,000cc Challenge, dominating the season-opening round held Friday as part of National Race Day at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.

Shaikh Salman shone brightest under BIC’s brilliant floodlights as he enjoyed a perfect meeting. He kicked things off by topping the practice timesheet before securing pole position in qualifying for the event’s first race.

The former champion then went on to take the chequered flag in both sprints and registered the fastest lap both times.



Shaikh Salman was racing behind the wheel of his white Honda Civic. He set the pace in practice with a best lap time of one minute 17.576 seconds, and then clinched pole with an even quicker 1:17.143 around BIC’s 2.55-kilometre Inner Track.

He led race one from the very start and made no mistake over 12 laps to win in a total time of 17:49.752. His fastest lap en route to claiming his victory was 1:17.808.

Tareq Al Tajer in a Red Ford Focus was the runner-up 1.424 seconds behind. He was able to take advantage of the retirement of Shaikh Hamad bin Isa bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who started from the front row but was forced to retire on lap two after experiencing trouble with his white Honda Civic.



Raed Raffii also benefited as he claimed the final podium step in his white Honda S2000, finishing 4.874s behind Shaikh Salman.

Each of the top three drivers were competing in the Pro class, in which Nasser Al Alawi in a red Honda S2000 followed with a ninth-place overall classification.

Andreas Buelow (white Honda Civic) won the Novice category. He was fourth overall 8.601s behind Shaikh Salman. Martyna Al Qassab (blue Acura DC5) and Giovanni Salerno (blue Ford Focus) were second and third, respectively, in class, while Ramzi Al Qassab (blue Acura DC5) and Wiebke Buelow (white Honda Civic) followed.



The Novice category’s other competitor, Khaled Al Rayyes in a gray Renault Clio, was not classified.

In race two, Wiebke Buelow was on pole alongside Ramzi Al Qassab, but on the very first lap Raffii and Shaikh Salman were able to charge to the front from sixth and eighth on the grid.

Shaikh Salman was eventually able to take the lead from Raffii on the third lap and he never looked back from there, winning in 15:19.983. He also improved on his fastest lap from race one with a time of 1:17.091.



Raffii held on to second place as he was classified 3.613s behind Shaikh Salman, while Al Tajer joined them on the podium once again but was a distant 20.441s behind.

Salerno was the winner of the Novice class in the race, finishing ahead of Andreas Buelow and Martyna Al Qassab. Ramzi Al Qassab and Wiebke Buelow completed the final classification.

Following each race, the top three from both classes received their respective trophies.



National Race Day was organised by BIC in cooperation with the Bahrain Motor Federation and Circuit Racing Club. It was held with all precautionary health and safety measures in place amidst the current health situation, in line with guidance from the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs and the Ministry of Health.

This season’s BIC 2,000cc Challenge is set to include seven meetings, culminating in April next year. Round two is scheduled for October 16. 

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