AQABA — Husam Salem on Friday won the sixth and final round of the Speed Test Championship — the Kumho Aqaba Speed Test — in which 69 drivers from Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan took part.
Salem clocked 1m35.99s, followed by Fadi Dahshan (1m38.81s) and Rami Kaghdo (1m 39.81s) — who already has secured the championship title.
Ahmad Daham won fourth place with 1m40.83s followed by Jad Nabbas (1m40.93s).
Salem, who gave a huge surprise to fans and drivers after sneaking from third place with 1m44.97s, in the first round and 1m41.33s in the second, expressed his happiness saying “it was a one-of-a-kind strategy”.
“My strategy was to have an error free last round and it worked. This is a new record for me in Aqaba and hopefully it will stay with me for some time. The competition was really unique especially with the level of professionalism everyone showed,” Salem told The Jordan Times.
“Definitely, the first round taught me more on how to speed, here and there, while in the second round I kind of mastered it and then put everything I have in to the critical third round,” he added.
In 2011, Salem won Al Hussein Rumman Hill Climb and the Jordan Speed Test Championship.
“This year, I focused on the speed test and a bit of rallying and I am happy to mix these two great sports in one season. Next year, I hope to work more on rallying,” he said.
Palestinian participation in Aqaba was impressive with Ibrahim Abu Shalbak taking the sixth spot with 1m42.73s.
“The idea of having a regional and international event is doable. We have been working on it for a couple of years. It will be great to have more drivers representing other countries in the region,” said race director Ihab Bate.
The event witnessed the participation of three women drivers from Palestine.
It was an excellent event where the skills and enthusiasm of drivers ruled the atmosphere. It was a well-organised event without any accidents and everyone enjoyed their time,” said Amer Basheer, who also handed out trophies to winners.
Liali Nashashibi, director of public relations at Movenpick Hotel, expressed her support for any future auto sport events in Aqaba.
“We are proud to be part of the Speed Test Championship as we see a lot of potential in hosting such great and well-organised events,” Nashashibi said.
The event witnessed huge crowds who wrapped themselves around the track. Live coverage on social networks made it one of the best events in the series.
The final results of the championship will be out sometime next week, according to Bate.