DESERT DUEL V8 Supercars push to take the popular series to the rest of the World continues this weekend when the stars and cars arrive in the Kingdom of Bahrain, for round twelve in this year's championship, "The Desert 400." Offshore events...
V8 Supercars push to take the popular series to the rest of the World continues this weekend when the stars and cars arrive in the Kingdom of Bahrain, for round twelve in this year's championship, "The Desert 400."
Offshore events are nothing new for V8 Supercars Australia, already staging events in China and New Zealand and this week the entire category will move more than 12,000 kilometres in a massive airlift involving more than 100 tonnes including 31 V8 Supercars, spare parts, engines and equipment in a massive logistical exercise.
As the "gateway to the Middle East" the island is a natural host to international visitors, who discover a thriving cultural and community hub amid the tranquil Gulf waters. Bahrain's 670,000-strong population enjoys a unique fusion of traditional Arabic life and cosmopolitan modern living.
Like so many of the Gulf nations, diversity is the byword for a population of which almost 40 per cent is made up of ex-pats. Across Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman almost every nation on earth is represented.
Bahrain International Circuit, the home of motorsport in the Middle East was awarded the prestigious FIA trophy for the best organized Grand Prix in 2004. It is the most technologically advanced racing circuit in the World and the only circuit to host a round of the FIA Formula One World championship in the Gulf.
Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes, Garth Tander and Rick Kelly will resume their championship battle on the tough 3.6 Klm circuit featuring several hairpin bends, blind corners and fast long straights.Whincup and Lowndes grip on this year's championship silverware took a battering in the previous round on the Gold Coast both the Triple 888 Ford teammates finding trouble at various stages throughout the weekend.
24 year old Whincup now has a slender nine point lead in the series, over the Toll Racing Holden of Garth Tander, teammate Lowndes and Rick Kelly. This weekend's round should give a clear indication in the outcome of this year's championship, before the teams head to the penultimate round in Tasmania in a fortnight.
Victory celebrations may look a little subdued in Bahrain, whether it be Kelly, Lowndes, Holden or Ford, there will be no traditional Champagne victory spray for the victor on the dais in respect of laws prohibiting alcohol advertising in Bahrain.
Two familiar Holden teams will have a decidedly unfamiliar look to Aussie V8 fans in Bahrain or on Television with the Perkins engineering's all black Jack Daniel's Commodores deleting the sponsor's brand name in respect of the alcohol laws and the Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly realising a lifelong dream to become a Chevrolet driver with his familiar all red #22 Commodore turning into a badged black and gold Chevrolet Lumina to celebrate Holden's 10th year of booming export sales into the Middle East.