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Following exciting and intense competition in the UAE and Morocco
Amman, August 2022: The second round of the national qualifiers of the Toyota GAZOO Racing MENA Esports Cup – which is officially sponsored by Toyota Motor Corporation, represented by Toyota GAZOO Racing, to keep pace with the evolving global esports and virtual car racing landscape – has concluded. Incredibly talented simulator drivers from the UAE and Morocco vied amidst an electrifying atmosphere and fierce competition to claim their seats in the finals scheduled to take place in the Jordanian capital, Amman, in October.
Following the remarkable success of the first edition of the Toyota GAZOO Racing MENA Esports Cup last year, the championship now returns with an even wider range of participants and a more advanced structure comprising national qualifier rounds that present everyone with a fair chance to showcase their talents, win and represent their countries during the finals.
The second round of the national qualifiers commenced in the UAE on Saturday 13 August and in Morocco the following day. Contestants brought out their best on the renowned Japanese Suzuka Circuit track to compete for only two positions available to represent each country, with the third-place winner becoming first reserve in case the first or second-place winners are unable to show up to the finals.
Salem Al Mesmari and Sultan Khalifa to Represent the UAE Once Again
In the UAE national qualifiers, Salem Al Mesmari and Sultan Khalifa, who represented their country in the finals last year, came out on top. Despite a significant gap from other contestants during all laps and races, rivalry between the two leading racers was fierce and unrelenting up until the last few meters, when Al Mesmari clinched victory following immense pressure from Khalifa. Meanwhile, Hamad Al Marzooqi finished in third place to become first reserve in case the first or second-place winners miss out on the finals in Jordan in October.
Reda Hsaine Dominates the Feature Race and Shuffles the Cards in the Moroccan Qualifiers
In Morocco, competition in the Feature Race took a different turn than the practice and qualifying sessions, in which Reda Hsaine dominated with Taha Malih in close second. While the top four racers maintained a significant lead ahead of the remaining contestants, that was only the calm before the storm of the Feature Race. Several racers slid and collided in the first of 10 laps around the famous Japanese Suzuka Circuit. Still, Hsaine kept his lead the entire race as competition for the runner-up position intensified. Ultimately, Abdelhafid Chetouani won second place, while Yassine Ounassi took third place and will represent Morocco in the finals instead of Chetouani who will not be able to attend.
Upon concluding the second round of the national qualifiers, all eyes turn to the third and final round, during which 10 more drivers from Mauritania (to be determined), Oman (25 August), Saudi Arabia (26 August), Qatar (27 August) and Bahrain (28 August) will advance to the finals being held between 6 and 8 October in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
National qualifiers for all countries will be streamed live on the Desert Fox Racing YouTube channel via the following link: t.ly/snqa
2022 Toyota GAZOO Racing MENA Esports Cup finalists:
Jordan: Ghaith Abu Taa – Izz Bustami (third place: Moath Shishani)
Egypt: Hazem Zaki – Mohamed Wasel (third place: Mohamed Raafat)
Lebanon: Sami Joe Abi Nakhle – Karl Etyemezian (third place: Wassim Abou Khalil)
Cyprus: Yiannis Hadhicharalambous – Panagiotis Petsas (third place: Demosthenis Michael)
Kuwait: Khaled Dashti – Mahdi Bulayyan (third place: Abdullrahman Al Thefiri)
UAE: Salem Al Mesmari – Sultan Khalifa(third place: Hamad Al Marzooqi)
Morocco: Reda Hsaine – Yassine Ounassi