Team GulfSport & Shalanov within reach of Radical Championship
GulfSport Racing run Sergey Shalanov had an eventful event at Yas 2 weeks ago. Going into this event Sergey held a slender lead for the 2016/17 Radical Middle East Cup.
After a fantastic drive in Race 1 Sergey worked his way up to first place after initially dropping to 9th at the start. Taking the chequered flag after the 45 minute race he was then informed of a pit stop penalty. The team protest was not upheld, despite an amendment to the regulations being made as a result of that protest, but Sergey was dropped to 4th.
Waiting patiently we finally rolled out for Race 2 under the flood lights at Yas Marina, only to be informed that after a huge crash in one of the support events there was 5 hours of repair to be made to a damaged barrier. So, after some head scratching it was decided to go ahead and get the long weekend finished, but on the South Circuit. This short 60 second lap would certainly test the drivers fitness and ability to stay focused.
Sergey made a fantastic start and took an early lead. With the top 3 running nose to tail Shalanov was barged out of the way by the Kuwaiti driver Al Nusaif and dropped to 3rd.
However after making a good pit stop and taking advantage of no pit time penalty Sergey was hot on the heals of the leaders and gaining fast. With championship rival Hjerppe having technical problems this was Sergeys race to take.
Going into the the last corner on the last lap Shalanov took the initiative and made a tight pass on Al Nusaif to take second. As the cars came round Al Nusaifs team mate was clearly dumb struck to loose second place on the last lap by slamming his water bottle in to the ground. But a good race and every one congratulated each other as the cars returned to the pit lane.
However when returning to the paddock Race Director Rolaston informed Sergey that he had reversed the positions as it was deemed he had taken an unfair advantage. This decision was met with incredulity and was instantly challenged by GulfSport's Martin Hope. The Race Stewards reviewed the evidence and upheld the Protest placing Sergey back in second place!
Back to Yas in a week Sergey trails Hjerppe by 9 points.