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Oman

Zakariya storms to Motorkhana crown

Oman rally star Zakariya al Aufi stormed to the men’s top honours in the Round 1 of the Oman Motorkhana Championship organised by the Oman Automobile Association (OAA) at its racing arena late on Friday.
Ammar al Balushi finished second in men’s overall while Mohammed al Amri finished third to justify their top billing in the championship.
In the women’s category, Ibthiaj al Hajri clinched the overall crown. Mazoon al Riyami claimed second spot and Buthaina al Zadjali finished third.
Former Oman champion drift star Ali al Balushi gave away the trophies to the top three winners in different categories.
Out of total 27 drivers, 17 were women who dominated the action for the first time at the Oman Motorkhana Championship.
Oman rally driver Zakariya al Aufi was elated with the great start for the season.
“It was quite some time I was associated with the time trial event. It was a great experience. I am very happy with my performance tonight. I hope to continue my form for the upcoming two rounds in this championship too,” Al Aufi said.
Zakariya clocked the top time of 1 min 3.906 seconds in the championship during the third and final heats. His other timings included 1:04.830 in heat two and 1:04.738 in heat one.
Women’s champion Ibthiaj al Hajri said she was proud of her achievement.
“It is a great moment for the women drivers in Oman. I had registered first for the competition. Several drivers followed suit and we had a good number of ladies taking part in the Motorkhana championship,” Ibthiaj said.

Chief guest Ali al Balushi said it was great to note the enthusiasm of the women drivers.
“The event’s highlight is the number of women drivers. We are happy to provide them all the facilities to fulfill their racing ambitions. This gives a new dimension to OAA’s racing programme,” the former drift champion fondly called ‘Lalou’ said.
In category wise results, Zakariya also topped FWD Open, followed by Mohammed al Amri and Khamis al Ghailani. In FWD Stock category, Salim al Rawahi took the top position, followed by ladies Mazoon al Riyami and Buthaina al Zadjali in second and third spots.
In AWD Open, Mohammed al Mazrui won the top spot. Mazin al Shanfari claimed the second position.
In RWD Open, Ammar al Balushi finished on top with Zaher al Shaqsi second and Ibthiaj third.
In RWD Stock category, Mohammed al Balushi clinched the top honours while Alpha Romeo Team claimed second spot and Malak al Hakmani finished third.
Promising woman driver Sanaa al Shukaily reflected on the dominating presence of women drivers in the championship.
“It is a real indicator of the current times. Lot of women are interested in motorsports in the Sultanate. We have 17 drivers here compared to 10 male drivers.”
Sanaa, who is a fan of Lewis Hamilton in Formula One, wants to take part in the Red Bull Car Park Drift in the future.

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