- Published: 27 December 2012
Raed Himmo and Stephen Kellogg both emerged victorious today in an exciting third round of the 2012/2013 BIC 2,000cc Challenge at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.
Himmo charged to an impressive pole-to-flag win in the meeting’s first race while Kellogg captured the chequered flag in race two by the narrowest of margins.
The Challenge was held as part of this weekend’s National Racing Festival in Sakhir, which also featured action in the second round of the 2012/2013 Bahrain Drag Racing Championship.
“It’s been a great meeting,” expressed an elated Himmo, who is expected to move to first place when the official championship standings are released following this round.
“Getting a win and a podium today is fantastic, and it gives me a boost for the remaining races ahead,” Himmo added.
Said Kellogg, who bounced back today from a disastrous second round in which he suffered two costly DNFs: “It’s good to get back to winning ways, but I still need to work harder and push more because everyone’s getting faster.”
Both Himmo and Kellogg claimed their second race victories of the season today. They both also claimed another podium finish to add to their fine results.
In today’s opening race, Himmo enjoyed a flawless drive after flying off his starting position. With a clear path ahead of him, he steered his Honda CRX 1.8-litre challenger to a comfortable gap from the rest of the field.
Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who started from third but managed to overtake Kellogg in the opening lap, was trailing Himmo not far behind but was still more than four seconds adrift at times in his Honda CIVIC.
Kellogg, who also drives a CIVIC, was engaged in a battle for the final podium spot with Tim Birkin and his Honda Integra. Kellogg eventually secured his hold on third place over the race’s last few laps.
Himmo won uncontested in a time of 20 minutes 09.036 seconds. He finished 4.201 seconds in front of Shaikh Hamad.
Kellogg was 12.222s back in third place, while Birkin clocked 15.869s behind in fourth. Birkin was later disqualified by race officials for being one millimeter off the required ride height.
Robin Brown in a Renault Clio Sport was therefore bumped up one position on the final classification after finishing a lap behind Himmo.
“It was a lonely race,” said Himmo. “I just had a good start and I managed to get away.”
In race two, with Birkin unable to compete due to the insufficient time he had to make the necessary changes to his car, the field was reduced to just four competitors and the top three were in for an exciting battle.
The reversed grid put Brown in front at the start, but Kellogg pounced on his much slower rival as they charged off while being followed closely by Himmo and Shaikh Hamad.
Kellogg, Himmo and Shaikh Hamad maintained their positions throughout the course of the race but towards the end, Kellogg began to struggle with his brakes and the pair behind him began to close in.
The three were literally bumper to bumper as they made their way around the final few corners, but Kellogg managed just enough in the end to come away with the victory just 0.123s ahead of Himmo and 0.371s in front of Shaikh Hamad.
“I was losing the brakes over the last four laps,” Kellogg explained. “I couldn’t trust the brakes and I had to pump them before every corner, so I was losing ground.
“Another lap and Raed would have had me.”
Brown completed the final race classification a lap behind.
Shaikh Hamad said of his double podium: “The races were quite OK today; points-wise it was very good for me. I now need time to figure out what to do with the car because the speed is not there. Set-up wise, I’m happy with it, but in terms of engine power, we have to see what we can do.”
Veteran racer Abdulrahman Ghuloom was also slated to compete in today’s round, but could not start either race due to problems with his car.