Muscat: Omani Gymkhana star Mazin al Shibani has proved that Oman is going forward and developing fast in motor sport after finishing 10th overall in AWD in Gymkhana Grid World Finals 2019, organised in Poland’s capital Warsaw last Saturday.
The Omani team comprising the three brothers Mazin, Nabeel and Sami al Shaibani did well over expectation with different performances in each challenge in their debut.
Sami is the youngest brother among the three and managed to finish 22nd out of 31 cars in qualifying for the RWD class, which made him, qualify for the Smoke and Style round in the main event. Sami’s driving impressed the team of organisers which in turn qualified him for the last top 8 smoke and style were he went against local favorite (David Sposob) who finished 19th in the seeding in his Toyota 86.
During the main event, Sami was doing very well until he ran into car related issues, which cost him the win as his car started to overheat during the very end of the track.
Mazin with long experience and Nabeel his younger brother managed to qualify for the main event for the AWD Class.
Mazin qualified 8th overall and Nabeel was 12th overall.
Nabeel on race day had a few issues with his car as he had an oil cooler broken in practice, which reduced his chances for better and excellent performance.
However, he managed to give a good battle to Ben Dryburgh in his Subaru Wrx Sti until the ever end with a 2.6 sec difference, tell his car over heated and had to stop and bow out of the competition.
The Omani gymkhana driver Mazin al Shibani not only qualified for the main event but also managed to beat the three-times gymkhana previous pro-am champ in qualifying Dmitri Srybnj. Srybnj had qualified ninth which was a surprise for many in the day of qualification as this was his 1st AWD appearance as last year he was in the RWD class.
Mazin commented “on race day we raced each other as 8th and 9th fastest and I was ahead until a mistake in the 2nd clipping point, where I hit the concentrate barrier behind it, which cost me a lot of time and broke my rim and differential which made the car very hard to handle around the bends and manoeuvre.
After finishing the event, Sami Said, “As this is my first appearance in the Gymkhana Finals, I have learned a lot from this experience, my car was lacking behind with the rest of the racers.” He added most commonly is the car balance and set up in order to put down the power grip on the track and make the car less drift spec and more balanced all around. I am looking forward to next year’s final and make it to the top 16 elite drivers. This year has given me an insight to what I need and have to be done. I am thankful for this opportunity to race with the very best in the world.
Meanwhile, Nabeel added: I am confident that as this is my 1st Gymkhana finals even though I had car troubles from day one, I did my best to fix it with the help of our fellow racers. Many thanks to them all. This shows even though it is a world finals the racers around always willing to help each other and big shout out to the guys who stood by me and help me get back into the track ever-time (Steve Baggsy, Hypki and Pawel from Poland) who by the way finished second overall in the RWD class and without them me being in the finals top 16 would not be possible.
Mazin the 10th overall in AWD stated that he was disappointed that a slip on his part cost him the win.
And said “I am glad that we put Oman and the Arab world on the map for the first time ever in the Gymkhana Grid Finals which makes me happy to do so and be the very fast, and hopefully more drivers from the Middle East will be invited to these kind of events. Also finishing the event in the top 10 in itself is an accomplishment which I am very proud of as it is my first time in the AWD class. Looking forward for next year we will be back for sure.’’
AWD Class results:
Petter Solberg, the WRC champion (Norway), 1
Oli Solberg (Norway), 2.
Riku Tahko (Finland), 3.
RWD Class results
Mantas Sliogeris (Lithuania),1
Pawel Korpulinski (Poland), 2.
Christos Chantzaras (Greece), 3.