Shaluov-Hjerppe got one victory each in the Round 4 of RMEC at Yas Marina.
The fight for the title 2016-2017 of the Radical Middle East Cup is still on with just one round left on the calendar. Sergey Shalunov (Arloid Racing) and Jani Hjerppe (Dream Racing) celebrated one victory each at the Yas Marina Circuit during Round 5 of the 2016-17 season. With the races running on the shorter, yet extremely challenging South Circuit, the Radical Middle East Cup promised two more exciting races. Right away from the qualifying sessions it was obvious that it would be a great fight on track for the top steps of the podium. In Q1, Kuwaiti Salem Al Nusif (Wadha Racing) managed to clock an incredible time on the very last lap, ‘stealing’ the pole position from the hands of the Flying Finn Jani Hjerppe. Behind them the Russian racer Ivan Lukashevich who, sharing the #11 car with Makarovskiy, immediately proved his pace and that the duo will be a forced to reckon with. In fourth position, Sergey Shalunov qualified in front of Dumitrascu, Gugkaev and Al Qubaisi. In Q2, Hjerppe managed to improve over his time in Q1, setting the best lap time of the weekend with a 1’00”922, leading the pack with almost half second gap from the Ollie Smith who qualified in P2. In second row, Shalunov qualified for third position just ahead Mohammed Al Nusif.
At the start of Race 1 Hjerppe immediately took the lead, overtaking the pole sitter Al Nusif. Behind the leader, Lukashevich put pressure on the Kuwaiti driver and managed to overtake him as well. Big fight for fourth position between the two Russians Shalunov and Gugkaev with the Arloid driver able to overtake the AUH Motorsport driver. The first stint of the race kept going with the same positions until the pit window opened, resulting in some changes: Hjerppe was still the leader overall but behind him Makarovskiy moved into second position ahead of Shalunov and Mohammed Al Nusif. Hjerppe from here on controlled the second part of the race, keeping behind the Russian competitors. Shalunov and the duo of Makarovskiy / Lukashevich completed the podium.
In Race 2, the Shalunov took the leader at the start just ahead of Smith. Hjerppe suffered from a broken driveshaft right after the start of the formation lap. The pit crew quickly managed to fix the problem within a few laps but tragedy struck again when he had to stop the car due to another technical problem. The whole first stint saw Shalunov dominating the pace in front, keeping Smith behind him who was not able to find an opportunity room to overtake the Russian. After the compulsory pit stop the situation on track didn’t change with Shalunov as leader ahead of Dumitrascu who took the wheel from Smith. In 3rd position Salem Al Nusif returned on track just ahead the young driver Lukashevich. After the driver change the fight between the two proved an exciting scene to watch, with the Russian able to take third position with a great move in the twisty part of the track. With Shalunov still in the lead, Dumitrascu was passed by Lukashevich seeing the the two Russians fighting for the victory until the last lap. Lap by lap, the young driver closed the gap with Shalunov who eventually managed to fight of the attacks until the chequered flag.
After this amazing round the gap in the standings between Shalunov and Hjerppe is now down to two points. In one month, the season will be off with the final round at Losail International Circuit (Qatar). The stunning venue of the MotoGP race track will host the final heat of the season with a big chance for any drivers to collect double points in this final event of the season.
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