Tuesday,26 March, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1332, (16 - 22 February 2017)
Tuesday,26 March, 2019
Issue 1332, (16 - 22 February 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Against the clock

Round one of the 2017 STT time trials kicks off

STT time trials

Keeping time trials in car racing alive in the era of drifting is not easy, especially when most of the racing organisers in Egypt are going with the flow, chasing profit more than anything else.

It’s a fact that drifting attracts more fans than any other type of racing in Egypt because it’s based on entertainment, but for many who want to start drifting, it is expensive. Adding to this, the true essence of car racing is to go as fast as possible on a track using all your skills in racing lines and car control like throttle management and weight transfer in order to get the hottest lap out of your car.

STT time trials

STT race management, led by Shadi Ossama, Bassel Hazem and Haitham Fardi, decided to dedicate themselves to keeping car racing alive in Egypt by organising the time trials in racing, around since 2014, when the first STT time trials championship started. Organised in a professional closed circuit with all the safety features applied, competitors participate in four rounds during the season with their cars racing against the clock and testing their driving skills through slaloms, ensuring the whole competition is based on the skills of the driver, not the power of the car.

Salem, Eissa and Samy

On Saturday 11 February at 11am, the first round of the season kicked off on the Auto-Vroom racing track with 58 racers hungry to kill it on the track. Competitors were scattered among nine categories according to the car’s engines and drive train as well as one category for females and another for teams.

With two big sponsors, Al-Ahram Advertising Agency and Al-Ahram Weekly, jumping in to support the championship in its new season, optimism was in the air.

Zalat, Ramadan and Samir

From the start, the track layout showed that Ossama was determined to toughen the operation on the racers especially those with fast cars. He worked hard on the first sector located right in front of the stands, using the slaloms in a way that forced the racers to plan for this part of the track very carefully. It was the most decisive part in the circuit that made the difference at the end on the timing sheet.

All eyes were on Haitham Samir, the 2016 title holder with his famous Mitsubishi Evo8 and entertaining driving skills who had among the best times in heat one. But there were some other drivers eager to go even faster with loads of adrenaline to release, like Hamada Zalat, the veteran racer who was flying like an 18-year-old, stunning spectators with his Colt Evo and scoring the best lap time in heat one.

STT time trials

“This season we started seeing new cars and new competitors,” Hazem said, adding that the reason was the condition of the circuit which he said does not damage cars like other circuits in the city, a fact that pushed competitors to race their expensive everyday cars like BMW F30, BMW E90 and the like. “Adrenaline Junkies is a new rising team with great potential,” said Fardi. New teams like Adrenaline Junkies have recently entered the sport through STT time trials. This race was their third and they were loving it more with every race. Maybe we can see them next year with a real race car.

STT time trials

The comeback of the legendary racer Manal Eissa, the first ever female to race in Egypt, after a 20-year absence, was one of the big headlines of this race. Eissa has a great history in national car racing competitions since the early 1990s when she raced against champions like Nasser Abu-Heif. “I always tell my children that I used to be a racing champion,” said Eissa. She said she wanted to let them know she’s still got it. Ezzat Sabri kindly loaned Eissa his car, but he didn’t know it was going to go down in history as the car driven to first place on the podium by Eissa in her comeback.

STT time trials

Medhat Ramadan, the experienced autocross racer, drove his Evo 6 sweetly to capture first place overall, only seconds in front of Zalat who came second in front of Samir who also was very close. Hossam Suleiman came fourth in the same car as Zalat. The talented Mohamed Wali came fifth pushing his Seat Leon Cupra to its limits. Surprisingly, Moataz Atef was out of form, by his standards, finishing sixth.

With three rounds remaining in the 2017 season, STT time trials continues to ignite a racing desire among enthusiasts in Egypt. Hopefully more racers and fans will join the party.

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