Unstoppables win Batelco Bahrain Superkart Challenge

2003 Batelco Bahrain Superkart Challenge
For immediate release
Friday, December 12th, 2003


Batelco Speednet settle for second place; Unstoppables A lose out

MANAMA (Bahrain): The MTC-Vodafone Unstoppables team won the 2003 Batelco Bahrain Superkart Challenge, which finished on a purpose-built, beachside circuit in the Seef District of Manama, Bahrain at 3pm this afternoon (Friday).

The 24-Hour event ran under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Son of the Crown Prince of Bahrain, who waved the chequered flag at the finish. The event ran under the auspices of the sport's governing body, the CIK/FIA, and attracted 22 international and domestic teams. The Batelco-backed event was also supported by the General Organisation for Youth and Sports (GOYS) and Power Horse.

Made up of reigning Bahrain champion and team captain Sean Murphy, 2001, 2002 and 2003 British champions Stephen White, Guy Sheffield and Paul Wilkins and 2003 Le Mans kart race winner Lee Hollywood, the triumphant Unstoppables team hit the front around six hours into the gruelling 24-Hour race and held an unassailable advantage over 1546 laps to the finish, despite a black flag incident early on, brake and clutch problems.

~We won this event in April 2002 and knew we had a very strong side this weekend,~ said Murphy. ~We rode our luck at times and other teams had some problems as well, but we all worked very hard. It's fantastic for me personally to end the season with a win before I head off to Egypt for some testing and then I take part in the World Championships in Egypt in January.~

Arch rivals Batelco Speednet - which featured former World Champion and F3000 driver Colin Brown and Dubai-based Frenchman Christophe Hisette - matched them lap for lap in the very early stages, only for Hisette to clout a tyre at speed and bend the rear axle.

~I was running really well and pushing hard,~ said Hisette. ~But I smashed into a tyre and it bent the axle. I had just passed the pit entrance and had to struggle for a whole lap to the pits. We then lost six laps while the damage was repaired and were never able to claw back the time we'd lost.~

A furious battle developed between Batelco Speednet, early pace setters MTC-Vodafone Unstoppables A and Team Batelco for second place. Baider Haider had given the MTC side the lead after two hours before dropping back, as the three teams traded positions for several hours during the night and early morning.

Owned by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamed Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, the Unstoppables A Team entered the final 30 minutes of the 24-Hour race in second position and remarkably on the same lap as the Batelco Speednet team to set up a grandstand finish. A dramatic battle ensued, as Batalco Speednet came within a whisker of taking second in the final minute and actually passed their rivals on a disputed 'final' slowdown lap to snatch second place.

The disgruntled MPC team completed the podium places, although tension prevailed in the pit lane. Batelco's second team, under the management of Ali Abbas, were fourth and Power Horse Revzone completed the top five.

Of the other 17 teams, the Bahrain International Airport team was made up of veteran financiers with an average age of 51. ~We defied our years,~ joked team spokesman Clive Turpin, when they reached the finish in 10th position. The Kart Elles outfit was captained by Bahrain's Esther Ghuloom and featured a team of young Bahraini girls. They finished 20th.

~This was a fanastic race and was very well organised,~ said Sheikh Fawaz Bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, President of the General Organisation for Youth and Sports (GOYS) and the Chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).

~The design and layout of the circuit was complimented by many of the overseas competitors. Now we must turn our attention to an exceptionally busy 2004 and the forthcoming Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix on April 4th.~

Final positions:
1. MTC-Vodafone Unstoppables 1546 laps
2. Batelco Speednet 11 laps behind
3. MTC-Vodafone Unstoppables A 11 laps behind
4. Team Batelco 28 laps behind
5. Power Horse Revzone 53 laps behind
6. Al-Ayam 66 laps behind, etc


For further media information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Tel: + 973 827600, Fax: + 973 827666, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com, www.ndp-publicity.com/press releases

Date issued: 12/12/2003

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