September 24, 2012

Class 1 - Cernobbio Grand Prix

RACE 1
Victory’s Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri cruised to their third win of the year on an afternoon of drama during race 1 of the Italian Grand Prix.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori made it a UAE one-two finishing ahead of Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini in Spirit of Qatar 95 to complete a podium lock-out for the Middle East teams.
The Championship leaders’ led from the start and were clear of pole-sitters Spirit of Qatar 96 when the red flag was shown and the race immediately stopped when FA.RO ACCIAI turned over at the first turn. Thankfully both crew members emerged unhurt through the escape hatch in the upturned hull and were taken back to the pits by the rescue team.
At the restart the Dubai pairing produced more of the same to once again steal the advantage of pole position from their rivals Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis in Spirit of Qatar 96 to lead at the end of lap one, with Team Abu Dhabi also stealing a march on the Qatari boat to move up into second place.
For the remainder of the shortened eight lap race Al Zafeen and Al Marri were untroubled, moving out to an eight second lead by the end of lap 3 and going on to win comfortably by 27 seconds in 20:13.36secs.
Behind the runaway leaders Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori further staked their claim as the main challenge to their Dubai neighbours, taking their fourth podium of the year, and were able to keep Spirit of Qatar 96 at bay for five laps who lost ground trying to make a move on the Abu Dhabi duo, eventually finishing in sixth.
Spirit of Qatar 95’s Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini had trailed their teammates from the start but grabbed the opportunity to move up into third spot when they saw them trip up, going on to take their best result of the year and complete the podium.
And whilst Nicolini can claim the bragging rights as the first Italian home, the battle for ‘Italian team honours’ was being fought out over fourth and fifth place between Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in LFF10 and Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci in Poliform, with Formilli Fendi and Carpitella holding off the challenge after passing Poliform on lap 2 to finish ahead of them by just two seconds.
Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski endured a rather solitary race in seventh spot in Zabo-Isiklar, but team boss Jan Zaborowski was satisfied that with the set-up available to them after losing a propeller yesterday, to get round without any technical problems was a positive outcome.
Today’s win for Al Zafeen and Al Marri, their fifth from six starts together, puts them 15 points clear of Team Abu Dhabi in the Championship table with Spirit of Qatar losing ground but still in third place.
ITALIAN GRAND PRIX, RACE 1 – Results
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) - 00.20.13,36
2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 00.26,89
3. 95 Spirit of Qatar - A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) + 00.37,55
4. 10 Fendi Racing - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 00.57,49
5. 74 Poliform - G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) + 00.59,88
6. 96 Spirit of Qatar - H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) + 01.03,00
7. 91 Zabo Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 01.41,00
8. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) - dns
RACE 2
Spirit of Qatar’s Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini produced a simply stunning performance in this afternoon’s thriller on Lake Como to win race 2 of the Italian Grand Prix.
Victory’s Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri just failed to pull off what would have been a remarkable win-double finishing second, with Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis making it a double podium celebration for the Qatari Team finishing third in Spirit of Qatar 96.
Al Neama and Nicolini laid the foundation for their first win of the season, in arguably their best drive since they first raced together in Class 1 in Abu Dhabi in 2011, by doing to Victory what they did to Spirit of Qatar 96 yesterday and stealing away the advantage of pole position by winning the drag race from the green flag to lead into the first turn.
LFF10’s Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella also produced a blistering start to come from fourth place on the start line to follow the Qatari-Italian duo across the line at the end of the start lap ahead of pole-sitters Victory and Poliform’s Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci.
But in spite of Poliform’s storming start, fourth spot was short lived, suddenly slowing on lap 2 and retiring from the race elevating Spirit of Qatar 96 to fourth place ahead of Team Abu Dhabi and Zabo-Isiklar.
With Al Neama and Nicolini edging out to an 11 second lead by lap 3, a titanic battle was developing behind them with just two seconds splitting LFF10 and Victory, with Spirit of Qatar 96 hanging on but a further seven seconds adrift.
Fendi and Carpitella looked to be capable of holding of the Victory attack, but their hopes of a podium evaporated on lap six when they took an imposed penalty lap for missing a buoy, dropping them to fifth place.
With six laps remaining Al Zafeen and Al Marri set about trying to haul in Al Neama and Nicolini and overturn their 15 second advantage.
By the end of lap 7 the gap was down to 10 seconds and by lap 10 the margin was just three, but Al Neama and Nicolini looked to have done enough and controlled the final two laps to run out well-deserved winners.
Today’s second place moves Al Zafeen and Al Marri 21-points clear in the Championship standings, with Al Zafeen conceding that the start cost them the race.
With Victory pushing hard to catch their teammates, Spirit of Qatar 96 were unable to match their pace but a race podium to add to their pole position win on Friday completed a good weekend for Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis, with Curtis satisfied that they had done all they could from where they started.
ITALIAN GRAND PRIX, RACE 2 – Results
1. 95 Spirit of Qatar - A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) 00.30.36,71
2. 3 Victory - A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) + 00.03,08
3. 96 Spirit of Qatar - H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) + 00.18,69
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 00.34,85
5. 10 Fendi Racing - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 00.50,49
6. 91 Zabo Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 01.05,00
7. 74 Poliform - G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) - dnf
8. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) - dns
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - after round 3
1. 3 Victory Team - 89pts
2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 68pts
3. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 49pts
4. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 41pts
5. 10 Fendi Racing - 38pts
6. 91 Zabo Isiklar - 18pts
7= 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 7pts
7= 74 Spirit of Gabon - Poliform - 7pts
9. 90 Welmax - 5pts
10. 9 Welmax - 0pts