And so it was… 14 races into the UAETCC season, final race day and only 4-points separated Zettanet Racing from Mouhritsa Racing in the Class 2 UAE Touring Car Championship with Lap 57 lagging only 7-points behind in a close 3rdPlace.
Thursday practice: ZRT sheared an engine mount after only 4-laps rendering the session finished. Quick action from Deutches Auto Service (DAS) had the part welded and replaced within the evening and set-up complete for the Friday morning warm up and qualifying.
Zettanets’ Jonathan Mullan went into qualifying with a solid game plan. A few warm up laps and two hot laps. On the 6th lap the pit board showed P1 and the car was rolled into the garage to prepare for Race 1.
Race 1: Was a clean start and Zettanet Racing managed to pull away from the competition lap on lap with consistent times resulting in a solid win.
Race 2: Now the pressure was on! ZRT led Mouhritsa Racing by a mere 2-points in the Championship standings and everything had boiled down to the last race. P1 in class on the start line side by side with the main opposition (Alex Annivas of Mourtisa Racing). Lights out and Alex made a blinding start being the maestro on cold tyres resulting in Jonathan dropping a few seconds in the early laps. However 3-laps later it was apparent that the gap was closing and it was going to be a close one….
On lap 5 Jonathan took the lead out of Turn 16. At the race mid-way point only 1-second separated the duo. One mistake and it was over for either race team. Zettanet put in a few hot laps and stretched the lead to 3-seconds. A duel with a back-marker almost resulted in disaster however the lead was stretched and maintained at 6-seconds. After 14-laps Zettanet took the chequered flag and Championship to the cheers and salute of the team on pit wall.
Looking back on the season Team Principal Theo Souris commented:
After 6-races (Round 3) we were 54-points adrift from the lead so we have to look back, reflect and recognise that as a team we really stepped up to the challenge and fought extremely hard to get where we are today. It is a tremendous win and I am personally very proud of the team for delivering the win today despite the pressures.
After a great seasons, ZRT were crowned Class 2 Champions and Theo, in typical fashion, would like to thank the following people;
- Nidal Gharzeddine (Mr. Zettanet): For supporting us since 2011 and being a fundamental part of this great team.
- EC Harris International Ltd: For sponsorship and support from our colleagues.
- Our Silent sponsor who is a complete petrolhead and great guy to which we highly respect.
- Mr. Saaed of Deutches Auto Service ‘DAS’ (Dubai): Who has embraced our team and dedicated support and technical excellence.
- Richard Lindup of Foilacar (Dubai): For the great livery application and support throughout the season.
- Andy Blackmore of andyblackmoredesign.com: For his creativity and vision.
- Ian Rogers (Sporting Director): For always encouraging us and for becoming instrumental to the success of the team.
- Mark Streifler: For chipping in and helping out when he’s not on holiday!
- Heiki: For being a crazy Estonian and trusted friend.
- Barbz Sheikh: For knowing a thing or two about mechanics, racing set-ups and being able to pull the things together as and when needed.
- Sander: For working hard at Yas Marina whilst on holiday!
- Darren Rycroft & Circuit Pro Digital (CPD) – PR and Media Partner: For the superb PR support and professional racing photos throughout the season.
- Jeff (KIWI) Owen of Special Projects Motorsport USA: For advice, support and parts supply throughout 2014.
- Waiki: For always taking awesome photos and being willing to laugh and support no matter what the obstacles.
- Ralf & Ria: For coming to all our races all year long.
- Crankandpiston.com for the season launch exposure.
- Gordon: For giving us great exposure on the ‘tracktalk – caseproductions’ videos.
- Donal McMahon of The Newry Reporter: For our coverage in Ireland.
- Phil (Commentator): For always having a good word to say about us… even when drifting through turn 16 unintentionally.
- Richard Birch: For always encouraging us to compete and enjoy motor racing.
- Frazer Martin For teaching us what the white lines are!
- Richa: For always being so polite (and hot) and providing us with green (Ireland colours) wrist bands.
- Emi: For always looking after us (Safety) and having a dry wit humour.
- Terry Plant: For always being fair.
- Umair Khann: For allowing us to “steal” the brake pads from his Honda S2000 on the final race day!
- Lap57 for the race car refurbishment, engine build, tuning and support in 2013.
- Our friends and families without which none of this would be possible.
- Alex Annivas of Mouhritsa Racing: For being our toughest competitor and all-round great bloke with a great racing family.
- And lastly…… our racer Jonathan: For consistently improving despite his age! and for not spinning on the final race day!!!
CPD asks… “What’s next for ZRT”?…. speaking for the first time to the illusive Nidal (Mr. Zettanet) we get an exclusive insight..
We are absolutely committed to launch a serious assault on the Dubai 24H race (A2 class) in January 2015 and our goal is to establish the most fun team ever to attempt if from Abu Dhabi – UAE… so come on… Join us!
Stay tuned to www.circuitprodigital.com for news of driver sign-ups, car development, the launch of www.zrtracing.com, the 24H documentary and in the meantime make sure to ‘like’ ZRT on facebook!