- Published: 05 December 2012
Tim Birkin will be looking to extend his championship lead in the 2012/2013 BIC 2,000cc Challenge this Friday (December 7) when round three takes place as part of the National Racing Festival at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.
Birkin has so far enjoyed a strong start to the current campaign, winning one of the four races already held while finishing as runner-up the other three times.
Birkin’s fine form has helped him build a comfortable 25-point lead in the points standings where he currently boasts a total of 85 markers. He hopes to keep up his consistency as he continues his quest to capture his first-ever 2,000cc title.
“I’m very pleased that I’ve been 100 per cent reliable so far,” said Birkin, who drives a Honda Integra in the series. “Unfortunately for my main opponents, they have not and that has helped me open up a good lead in the championship.
“Hopefully I can continue to do the same, and if I can then I’ll be looking good for the championship.”
Birkin’s chief rivals for the crown, defending champion Stephen Kellogg and former champion Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, have both fallen behind in the championship due to untimely DNFs that have proven costly.
Due to persisting engine trouble in the season’s second round, Kellogg could not finish either race while Shaikh Hamad had issues with his car’s battery that forced him out of Race One that same meeting.
With both his main competitors looking to bounce back strong this weekend, Birkin knows that he cannot take anything lightly.
“It’s certainly going to be competitive,” Birkin said. “Stephen and Shaikh Hamad are always there in the front. They may have had some issues with their car, but both of them are very quick and they must not be written off at all.
“Then, there’s Raed (Himmo) who has upped his game. He has been one of the fastest cars out there, so he is another to look out for. There’s also Salah (Salahuddin), if he competes, and the rest of the field can all surprise us at any time, so there can be no less than four or five drivers chasing the top spot in each race.
“That’s quite exciting and I’m looking forward to racing.”
Kellogg, Shaikh Hamad and Himmo have all also won this season, making for a very wide open title race.
Currently ranked behind Birkin in the championship standings is veteran Abdulrahman Ghuloom (Honda CIVIC) with 60 points, having been ranked in the top five in each event so far. Shaikh Hamad (Honda CIVIC) is third with 59 points, Himmo (Honda CRX 1.8) fourth on 54 markers, and Kellogg (Honda CIVIC) fifth with 45 points.
Alex Longden (BMW 3 Series) is sixth with 43 points, Robin Brown (Renault Clio Sport 2.0) is seventh with 28 points, Hussain Karimi (Honda CRX) eighth with 15 points, and Ahmed Kuzbar (Ford Focus 2.0) ninth with 12 points.
Action in the 2,000cc begins with practices at 10.30am Friday, to be followed by qualifying at 11.30am. Both sessions will run for 30 minutes.
Race One will then flag off at 1.50pm while Race Two, featuring a reversed grid, will begin at 3.20pm. Both races will be over 15 laps around BIC’s 2.550-kilometre Inner Circuit.
Also as part of the National Racing Festival will be the second round of the Bahrain Drag Racing Championship. Participants have already been out on track since Wednesday night. Their races are scheduled for Friday evening, starting from 6pm.
All are welcome to attend the upcoming National Racing Festival. Tickets are available at the Welcome Centre located at BIC’s main entrance.
Tickets to watch the 2,000cc Challenge on Friday cost BD2 per person. Meanwhile, for Friday night’s drag racing, fans can choose between seats overlooking the strip’s start line or seats at the Batelco Grandstand. Start line tickets cost BD5 apiece while Batelco Grandstand tickets are BD3 each.
All tickets are half the price for children aged 15 years old and below.
For more information on this weekend’s National Racing Festival at BIC, visit the circuit’s official website, www.bahraingp.com, or call the circuit hotline on +973-17-450000.