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Sulaiti rules third qualifying race in QORC Moto
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Sulaiti rules third qualifying race in QORC Moto

Tribune News Network
Ex-World Superbike Championship racer Saeed al Sulaiti was determined to maximise his second chance in the Qatar Online Racing Championship Moto and he exactly did it by blitzing to victory in the second qualifying race.

At the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia, the three-time QSTK600 winner first clocked a blistering 1:56 plus lap to get the second pole and then he twice posted flying laps of 1:56 on the way to clinching the race by over 20 seconds.

It may be mentioned that Saeed, the winner of the first race in the Group B, could not join the action in the second race due as he had got the pole but could not join the race lobby due to some technical reason. His brother Hamad al Sulaiti also suffered the same problem. Both later filed protests which were upheld and they were granted 26 and 25 points, respectively, which injected new life in their challenges.

In the third qualifying race, Saeed did not take anything to chances and concentrated on just getting the full points in the best possible display. After opening a one-second plus gap in the first lap itself, Saeed kept increasing the margin between him and the rest of the grid. And he eventually completed the 15-lap race in 29:38.211, which was 20.857 seconds faster than second-placed Khalid al Maraghi, who was fifth before rising to third and then to second.

Second race winner Ali Ahmed Boushehri and Saad al Harqan had a strong fight in the beginning of the race. But the latter crashed twice to fall out of the podium contention. Boushehri tried his best but failed to up his game and settled for the third spot.

Sulaiti was pleased with getting the objectives that he had set in the race. "Yeah, it was a good race for me. I was very much focused on the pace, just wanted to just win the race to confirm my place in the finals with high confidence.

"It was very nice to get 1:56 for the pole position. Even in the race, I managed to get hot laps of 1:56 twice and was quite consistent," he added.

Sulaiti can't wait for a battle with Sheikh Soud al Thani, the topper from the Group A with three wins, in the finals. "I'm looking forward to the finals, which are going to start on Sunday. I hope it is going to be very exciting. Sheikh Soud dominated in the other group. I'll try to do my best for the win. We hope that both of us give a good show in the finals," he said.

Sulaiti and Boushehri both finished first in the pool with 106 points but the former was credited with the top spot on the basis of his faster lap in the third race. Maraghi is overall third with 100 points and he is followed by QSTK600 champion Abdulla al Qubaisi (97 points), Kuwait's Mohamad al Zaidan (96 points), Harqan (86 points) and Sheikh Jassim al Thani (84 points).  Martin Robinson was eighth with 83 points, missing the finals by just a couple of points.

Qubaisi had a good race. He was sixth at one stage after having a fall but fought back to finish fourth. Sheikh Jassim moved to fourth spot in the early laps but could not hold the position and slipped to fifth after being overtaken by Qubaisi in the 11th lap. Zaidan was in sight of the podium finish but could not control his bike and his crashes dropped him back in the race before he managed to claim the sixth position. Harqan got the seventh and Robinson was eighth.

Hamad al Sulaiti and Antoine Baaklini retired midway after losing their balance and hitting the tarmac.

Results Race 3
# Rider Bike Time
Group B
1 19 Saeed al Sulaiti Ducati 29:38.211
2 14 Khalid al Maraghi Yamaha +20.857
3 4 Ali Ahmed Boushehri/Kwt Yamaha +27.287
4 2 Abdulla al Qubaisi Ducati
5 10 Sheikh Jassim al Thani Yamaha
6 17 Mohamad al Zaidan/Kwt Yamaha
7 18 Saad al Harqan Ducati
8 15 Martin Robinson Honda

Standings (top seven qualify for finals)
# Rider R1 R2 R3 Pts  
Group B
1 19 Saeed al Sulaiti   40 26 40 106
2 4 Ali Ahmed/Kwt   33 40 33 106
3 14 Khalid al Maraghi   31 33 36 100
4 2 Abdulla al Qubaisi 30 36 31 97
5 17 Mohamad al Zaidan/Kwt 36 31 29 96
6 18 Saad al Harqan 28 30 28 86
7 10 Sheikh Jassim al Thani 26 28 30 84

8 15 Martin Robinson 27 29 27 83
9 9 Hamad al Sulaiti 29 25 0 54
10 6 Antoine Baaklini 25 27 0 52
11 1 Abdulla al Abassi 0 0 0 0

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