RAMEZ AZZAM RELISHES ONE-OFF SPEEDCAR SERIES APPEARANCE IN BAHRAIN MANAMA, APRIL 26 2009 - Ramez Azzam (UAE) sincerely enjoyed a guest appearance in the fifth and final round of the Speedcar Series in Bahrain this weekend. Azzam took up the ...
RAMEZ AZZAM RELISHES ONE-OFF SPEEDCAR SERIES APPEARANCE IN BAHRAIN
MANAMA, APRIL 26 2009 - Ramez Azzam (UAE) sincerely enjoyed a guest appearance in the fifth and final round of the Speedcar Series in Bahrain this weekend. Azzam took up the invitation of Scuderia Giudici to take over car #96, originally belonging to former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve. Despite lacking any testing opportunities ahead of this event, Azzam, a frontrunner in the Western European Cup (WEC) Formula Renault 2.0, finished the first race at the Bahrain International Circuit in tenth position, but was forced to retire from the second race with gearbox problems.
As part of the support program to the Formula One Grand Prix of Bahrain, the Speedcar Series finished its second season in Manama this weekend, with Gianni Morbidelli being crowned as the successor of last year's champion Johnny Herbert. The Speedcar Series not only presents close racing but also a packed grid of famous racing personalities, such as (ex-) F1 drivers Jean Alesi, Jacques Villeneuve, Tonio Liuzzi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The 24 identical V8 620 bhp stock cars deliberately lack electronic driver aids to guarantee close, exciting and thrilling races.
In Friday's 45 minute qualifying session, Azzam only used one set of new tyres in order to maximize his track time and acclimatize himself with the 5,412 meter long circuit. Despite a minimal pre-race preparation, Azzam collected the 14th starting position for Saturday's opening race.
In the first race on Saturday morning, Azzam unfortunately experienced braking problems throughout the 19-lap race. The ninth race of the 2008- 2009 season provided the huge crowd with a spectacular showing however, with Morbidelli and Herbert's title showdown in the centre of attention. While Herbert won the race ahead of Frentzen and Liuzzi, Azzam still gained four positions throughout the race in order to finish the race in 10th position.
After a tumultuous start of Sunday's season finisher, Azzam dropped back a couple of positions to P14, before experiencing technical trouble. As the race progressed, the Emirati driver encountered increasing problems while up- and downshifting resulting in a loss of performance. After seven laps, Azzam wisely decided to retire instead of damaging his gearbox any further.
RAMEZ AZZAM: "I had a very good time racing with living legends such as Jean Alesi, Johnny Herbert and Gianni Morbidelli. And not to forget my mentor David Terrien, who introduced me to the world of motorsport, and helped me this weekend as well. I want to apologize to Johnny Herbert whom I touched in the first corner of Sunday's race, after avoiding contact with someone behind me who locked up while braking. A shame we experienced technical trouble in both races, but I still enjoyed every minute of it. Many thanks to Scuderia Giudici for handing me this opportunity. I will now start concentrating and prepare myself for our next WEC race in Pau (May 15- 17)."
-credit: ramez azzam