The Yas Marina Circuit witnessed a thrilling Round 4 of the Clio Cup Middle East, with Uniq Racing’s Eduoardo Miranda showcasing his mastery on the track, extending his championship lead over the Continental Racing duo Stanislav Novikov and Ilya Sidorov.

The excitement kicked off on Friday with testing and free practice sessions setting the stage for a weekend of intense competition. Novikov stole the spotlight in testing, breaking into the 2:07s with a blistering lap time of 2:07.7. Championship leader Miranda closely followed, trailing by a mere 0.421 seconds, while Sidorov secured the third spot.

Free practice continued to build anticipation as Continental Racing drivers Sidorov and Novikov dominated, securing P1 and P2, with Miranda trailing just 0.172 seconds behind.

Round 4 of the Clio Cup Middle East took place on the Corkscrew layout of Yas Marina Circuit | Credit: Clio Cup Middle East

The first qualifying session showcased Miranda’s prowess as he outshone the competition, claiming pole position with an impressive 2:07.852. Novikov, however, faced a challenge, securing P2 but trailing 0.653 seconds behind. Sidorov followed closely with a 0.348-second gap, while their teammate Ivan Tverdohlebov faced a setback, failing to qualify after a technical issue. A disappointing result for the Russian driver after securing P4 in testing and free practice.

Novikov clinches victory in Race 1

Race 1 provided a rocky start for Miranda, allowing Novikov to claim the lead. The top three drivers, Novikov, Miranda, and Sidorov, showcased exceptional race pace, distancing themselves by over 6 seconds from the rest of the field.

Tverdohlebov’s misfortune continued as his car failed to start due to technical problems. Sam Laidlaw of Track Timing Racing faced early retirement due to crash damage in lap 1.

Challenges continued with track limit issues on the Yas Marina Circuit’s corkscrew configuration, impacting Rumos Racing’s Alexander Chachava. Multiple track limit penalties accumulated to a total of 30-seconds in time penalties for Chachava, dropping him from P5 to a disappointing P11.

Miranda faced a 5-second time penalty for track limits, demoting him from P2 to P3 at the race’s conclusion, with Sidorov claiming the second position.

Novikov took victory in the first race of the weekend | Credit: Clio Cup Middle East

In the second qualifying session, Miranda struggled to replicate his earlier performance, securing P4. Novikov confidently claimed pole position for Race 2 with a time of 2:08.228, while Sidorov secured P2 by a narrow margin, with Uniq Racing’s Youssef Gaber qualifying only 0.004 seconds behind him.

Miranda fights back in Race 2

Race 2 saw Miranda overcoming the odds, fighting his way from P4 to claim victory, finishing 1.188 seconds ahead of Novikov. The top two drivers displayed incredible race pace, finishing a staggering 12.55 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack.

Track Time Racing’s Steve Laidlaw celebrated his first podium appearance, marking a remarkable achievement after a challenging weekend where he struggled to make time in previous sessions.

Miranda’s outstanding performance throughout the weekend allowed him to extend his championship lead to 108 points, holding a 20-point advantage over Sidorov with 82 points, followed by Novikov with 68 points.

Miranda fought back to claim victory in Race 2 | Credit: Clio Cup Middle East

As the dust settles on Round 4, anticipation builds for Round 5 of the Clio Cup Middle East, scheduled for January 26-27 at the Dubai Autodrome, serving as a supporting race for the Hankook 24-Hours of Dubai. The battle for supremacy in the championship continues, promising more thrilling moments on the track.

Header photo credit: Clio Cup Middle East

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