There was no mistaking the pride and joy etched on the face of Mohammed Al Owais, UAE Flag wrapped around his shoulders, as he made his way onto the top step of the Dubai Autodrome podium in early March during the international race weekend which featured UAE National Racing and Speedcar.
Not only had he won Class 4 in the Yellow Hat UAE Touring Car Championship with House of Portier, he had also led home three other Emirati drivers and thus making history in local motorsport.
Al Owais remembers the day well, “I was very happy for the 1-2-3-4 for the UAE in our Class. I am also very happy for my brother Omran who finished third and was with me on the podium. A great day for UAE drivers which made me proud to stand on the top step of the podium.”
This was just one of the highlights of a most memorable season for the modest and likable Al Owais who romped to the UAE Touring Cars Class 4 title and in the process nabbed the overall UAE Touring Car Championship. Truth be told, Class 4 was arguably the most competitive of the 5 class UAE Touring Car series.
It certainly featured the most competitors, a handy bunch of campaigners at that, including the likes of Zlatko Mulabegovic, Spencer Vanderpal, Khalid Al Mutawaa, Khalid Bin Hadher, Alexandros Annivas and Mohammed’s brother Omran to name a few.
But in the end no one had an answer to Al Owais’ dominance which can be attributed to immaculate preparation of the Lap57 Honda which also weighed in leaner than most of his Class 4 rivals. There was no question that this was a purpose built car with one aim, to win the Championship.
No matter how good the machinery, the key factor in Touring Car racing is still the driver, and Al Owais proved more than capable of driving his black and white pocket rocket on the limit. His season’s results make for some remarkable reading.
During the course of the season 18 drivers contested Class 4 of the UAE Touring Car Championship. There were 15 races in total which counted towards the championship.
Of these Al Owais won 13 which guaranteed him the Class 4 title a couple of races before the season ended. At this stage the Emirati ace was very much in contention for the overall championship prize, his main rival for this coveted prize being Class 3 pace setter Costas Papantonis (House of Portier SEAT).
Al Owais trailed Papantonis by a handful of points with two rounds (four races) to go. It was here that Papantonis’ near perfect season faltered while Al Owais rose to the challenge to take maximum points in all four races, which in turn made him UAE Touring Car Champion for 2008/2009.
Last word to the Champion, Al Owais, “ My season is proof that even with a small car it is possible to win the big prize if you keep the performance level high. It was an amazing season, very competitive with great drivers from different teams. I need to thank my family and friends for their continuous support.
Special thanks to Rizvi and Lap57 team for the great work that they have done. Of course we need to highlight the role of our team sponsors Spellbound, CentimeterCube and AOIT. Last but not least a big thanks to all the competitors who with out them this would not have been possible.
Also to Dubai Autodrome and all the staff for delivering a great and safe season. I hope my championship victory is an inspiration to aspiring Emirati racing drivers. It feels great to be Champion.”
This article is also published on www.tracktalk.ae