Motor sports

El Kholy wins Qatar Online Racing Championship for rally cars

Doha, Qatar: Qatar’s Ahmed El Kholy saved his best for the last as he edged Ammar Balushi of Oman in a thrilling final on the gravel of Rally Finland to win the Qatar Online Racing Championship (QORC) W8 (for rally cars) on Monday.

Coming into the final of the competition organised by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycling Federation (QMMF), Balushi and his compatriot Zakariya Alofi were the favourites after impressing throughout, especially in the semifinals.

But El Kholy, who finished strongly in the semis, carried that form into the final and finished in 33:17.944, which was just enough to edge Balushi by 0.830sec.

Meshari Al Thefiri defeated Mansour Dbeissy by 0.005sec to claim third place. Khalid Al Maraghi finished fifth, Adel Abdulla failed to match his qualifying show to settle for sixth while Alofi had a disappointing final day to finish seventh.

“I never expected to win it, even if I put in my best performance,” said an elated El Kholy.

“When I started the competition I felt it was not my type of racing at all. I like circuit racing. It was new racing for me and experience is very less.

“I suffered a lot in the middle of the second week and was almost out of the competition. I knew I had the speed but I needed a clean run. It was hard for me. I was practising day and night especially the last few days.

“I tried to learn from my mistakes I tried to keep the car in the track. I just tried to take the car to the finish without making too many mistakes. I think that was my strategy today,” said El Kholi, who thanked “everyone at QMMF who are behind the scene.”

Balushi said he made small mistakes which cost him the title.

“It was an epic final race. We made tiny mistakes that made the difference and cost us the race,” said Balushi.

Meanwhile, QMMF announced that it’s top four riders will take on Moto2 Championship winners Leopard Racing in the fourth edition of the QORC starting Tuesday. The final of the seven-race series will be on June 29.

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