October 17, 2011

Class 1 - Italy Grand Prix 2011

RACE 1
Victory’s Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi took a giant step towards retaining their European title after an imperious flag-to-finish win in race 1 of the Italian Grand Prix.
Leading from the start the defending Champions backed their pole position status to take their 24th career wins and their third of the season to extend their lead in the World Championship standings to 16 points over Spirit of Qatar 96, completing the 12 lap, 52,66Nm race in 34mins 5.39secs at an average speed of 171.65km/h.
But crucially, today’s flawless drive by Al Zafeen and Bin Hendi turns a five point deficit in the European Championship into a six points advantage - again over Spirit of Qatar 96, with Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis finishing in a disappointing fourth place.
Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini gave the Qatari Team something to celebrate, taking their third podium and best result of the season, bringing Spirit of Qatar 95 home in second place, with Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al Hameli and Majed Al Mansoori producing yet another impressive performance to finish third and complete a Middle East sweep of the podium.
Nicolini’s second place was also some consolation for the Italian fans who watched as first Fendi Racing failed to appear on the start line and then saw Poliform limp out of the race after just three laps.
With the race leaders disappearing into the distance, widening the gap from 15 seconds at the end of lap 3 to 40 seconds by race finish, the Spirit of Qatar crew had to keep one eye on Team Abu Dhabi who maintained a relentless pursuit but were unable to close down their Middle East rivals finishing 10 seconds adrift, with Al Hameli taking his second podium from three starts in Class 1 and Mansoori his first.
Belgium’s Frank Hemelaer marked his Class 1 debut alongside Luca Nicolini in FA.RO. ACCIAI moving up from eighth at the end of the first lap to finish in a very credible fifth place for Team D’Alessio-Scam on their season-entry into the Championship. Relekta came out on top winning the battle of the Norwegian outfits, finishing in sixth place after Welmax retired on lap five.
ITALIAN GRAND PRIX, RACE 1 - results
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zafeen (UAE) / N Bin Hendi (UAE) 00.34.05,39
2. 95 Spirit of Qatar - A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) + 00.41,00
3. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - A Al Hameli (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 00.51,25
4. 96 Spirit of Qatar - H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) + 01.07,87
5. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - F Hemelaer (BEL) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 1 LAP
6. 91 Relekta - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 1 LAP
7. 90 Welmax – B Jacobsen (NOR) / K Olsen (NOR) DNF
8. 74 Poliform - G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) DNF
10 Fendi Racing - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) DNS
18 MITI Tech Power – S Sardelli (ITA) / N Giorgi (ITA) DNS
RACE 2
Victory’s Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi completed the perfect weekend winning race 2 of the Italian Grand Prix to clinch the 2011 Class 1 European Championship in an incident-filled afternoon which saw Italians Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella crash out.
It was another masterful display by the Victory pairing to mark their 25th career wins and retain their title, dominating from the start and going 50 seconds clear of Team Abu Dhabi and a distant chasing pack when the race was red flagged and bringing out the pace boat after Fendi Racing’s day ended in dramatic fashion, hooking and then rolling on lap seven, both Fendi and Carpitella emerging from the escape hatch in the upturned hull unhurt.
The pace boat led the fleet round for two laps before releasing them, with Al Zafeen and bin Hendi, asked to do it all again, and they did, immediately opening up a commanding lead and going on to take their fourth win of the year by over 20 seconds, completing the 16-lap, 70.92Nm race in 54mins 38.70secs.
The laps under the pace boat took their toll on Team Abu Dhabi, with yesterday’s third placed finishers Ahmed Al Hameli and Majed Al Mansoori pulling to the inside of the circuit and retiring from the race with technical problems.
For the tens-of-thousands of Italian powerboat fans who crammed into Cernobbio and lined the shores of Lake Como, the disappointment of seeing Fendi Racing’s exit soon changed when Poliform’s Guido Cappellini – who considers the lake to be his! – and Giampaolo Montavoci emerged after the restart in second place followed by Spirit of Qatar 96, Welmax and Spirit of Qatar 95 – both the Qatar outfits seeing their European title hopes fading fast.
After the frustrations of yesterday’s retirement it was an impressive turnaround by the all-Italian outfit, whose second place was never under pressure, taking their best result of the year and moving into fourth place in the overall Championship standings.
For the Spirit of Qatar Team it was an afternoon of mixed emotions, with Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini enjoying an eventful afternoon, running in second spot for the opening three laps but were down in sixth place when the race was red flagged, then eventually clawing their way back up to third, passing their teammates Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani and Steve Curtis on lap 11 - Welmax passed by both a lap earlier.
Whilst a good result for Al Neama and Nicolini, their second race podium of the weekend enough to move them into the runners-up spot in the European Championship, but at the expense of Sheikh Hassan and Curtis, who described it as ‘just one of those weekends when nothing went their way’ again missing out on the podium finishing in fourth place.
FA.RO. ACCIAI completed a more than satisfactory weekend on the team’s entry into the Championship, with the new partnership of Frank Hemelaer and Luca Nicolini again finishing well up in the points in fifth place. Welmax’s Bjorge Jacobsen and Kurt Olsen turned the tables on their Norwegian rivals to finish in sixth, ahead of Relekta’s Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski.
Today’s win for Al Zafeen and bin Hendi moves them into a commanding position in the World Championship standings and puts them 29-points clear of Spirit of Qatar 96 with the final Grand Prix of the season in Dubai on 8-10 December.
With 44 points on offer in Dubai the defending World Champions need just 15 as they bid to become the first Victory pairing to win the Grand slam of all four titles in a single season, the feat only ever achieved by Spirit Of Norway’s Bjorn Rune Gjelsten and Steve Curtis in 2003 and 2006.
ITALIAN GRAND PRIX, RACE 2 - results
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zafeen (UAE) / N Bin Hendi (UAE) 00.54.38,70
2. 74 Poliform - G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) + 00.20,25
3. 95 Spirit of Qatar - A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) + 00.39,34
4. 96 Spirit of Qatar - H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) + 00.48,76
5. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - F Hemelaer (BEL) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 02.13,28
6. 90 Welmax – B Jacobsen (NOR) / K Olsen (NOR) + 05.57,59
7. 91 Relekta - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 1 LAP
8. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - A Al Hameli (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) DNF
9. 10 Fendi Racing - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) DNF
18 MITI Tech Power - S Sardelli (ITA) / N Giorgi (ITA) DNS
UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP - after race 5
1. 3 Victory - 103pts
2. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 74pts
3. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 66pts
4. 74 Poliform - 40pts
5. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 38pts
6. 91 Relekta - 23pts
7= 10 Fendi Racing - 19pts
7= 90 Welmax - 19pts
9. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - 14pts
10. 50 Parsonage Racing - 8pts
11. 69 ferskfisken.no - 5 pts
12. 18 MITI Tech Power - 4pts
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP - after race 3
1. 3 Victory - 55pts
2. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 39pts
3. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 38pts
4. 74 Poliform - 24pts
5. FA.RO. ACCIAI - 14pts
6. 91 Relekta - 13pts
7= 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 12pts
7= 90 Welmax - 12pts
9. 69 ferskfisken.no - 5 pts
10= 10 Fendi Racing - 0pts
10= 50 Parsonage Racing - 0pts
10= 18 MITI Tech Power - 0pts