December 16, 2012

Class 1 - Dubai Grand Prix

RACE 1
Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis produced a brilliant tactical drive in rough conditions off the Mina Seyahi to come from behind to take their second win of the season in race 1 in Dubai of the Emirates-Dubai Duty Free and Skydive Dubai Grand Prix.
The pole-sitters and 2012 Champions elect, Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri saw their hopes of victory disappear in the latter stages to finish in second place ahead of Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in LFF10.
The decision by the Spirit of Qatar 96 crew to take their two mandatory long-laps early after a poor start dropped them to third place behind LFF10 and the early race leader’s Victory, paid off.
They began their fight back as the front two runners went for their long laps and on lap six passed LFF10 and then set about overhauling the 40-second deficit to Victory.
By lap eight they had cut the gap to ten seconds, passing the Championship leader’s two laps later to go on and take the win by 14-seconds, completing the 12 laps/53.76Nm in 38:03.77s.
Despite a brilliant start by Al Zafeen and Al Marri and easing out to a comfortable lead in the early stages of the race, an engine issue in the closing laps and second place means their hopes of trying to close-out the Championship in front of their home crowd now depends on them winning race 2 and Team Abu Dhabi, who finished in fourth place, finishing outside the top six.
Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella mirrored their performance in official qualifying, but a ballast issue mid-race prevented them from holding off the Spirit of Qatar charge to the front, costing them a possible second spot.
Peter McGrath and Class 1 newcomer Darren Nicholson survived one or two nervous moments in the new Victory hull, running as Victory Team Australia, coming home in fifth place despite being given a time penalty for missing a turn buoy, ahead of Zabo-Isiklar and FA.RO Acciai.
A 360 spin-out on lap two ended Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci’s race, with Yngve Bratland and Bjorge Jacobsen’s Subseapilot stopping on the same lap with a technical problem. Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini failed to make the start after damaging Spirit of Qatar 95 in qualifying.
EMIRATES/DUBAI DUTY FREE and SKYDIVE DUBAI GRAND PRIX, RACE 1 – Results
1. 96 Spirit of Qatar - H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) - 00.38.03,77
2. 3 Victory - A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) + 00.14,72
3. 10 Fendi Racing - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 00.35,56
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 02.46,00
5. 7 Victory Team of Australia - D Nicholson (AUS) / P Mc Grath (NZL) + 03.57,00
6. 91 Zabo Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 1 LAP
7. 23 FA.RO. Acciai - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 2 LAPS
8. 8 Subseapilot - Y Bratland (NOR) / B Jacobsen (NOR) dnf
9. 74 Poliform - G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) dnf
10. 95 Spirit of Qatar - A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) dns
RACE 2
Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri cruised to a somewhat hollow victory in the Skydive Dubai Grand Prix, following extraordinary scenes before the start with three boats boycotting the race and returning to the pits.
The decision by Spirit of Qatar’s team principal Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Luca Formilli Fendi to boycott the race hinged on the fact that they [teams] were informed of the decision to change the course 45 minutes before the start of the race, and that Victory were late to the race pontoon because they were changing their set-up.
Despite all teams being given the opportunity by UIM Race Commissioner Gordon Sutherland to return to the pits to change set-ups, only Darren Nicholson and Peter McGrath of Victory Team Australia took up the option.
Not for the first time over the race weekend the weather was the powerful dictator, forcing race officials to shorten the course for the mornings practice and then reduce it considerably further and run a ‘storm course’ due to the extreme conditions on the outside leg.
With Subseapilot already side-lined after losing their escape hatch and damaging the boat in the morning session, and the withdrawal of both Qatar boats and LFF 10, six lined up for the revised 13 lap 42.14Nm race with officials opting for a rolling start with the boats running line stern.
The absence of yesterday’s race winner and third placed boat handed the advantage to Al Zafeen and Al Marri who disappeared into the distance from the green flag and were unchallenged throughout, and cruised to their fourth win of the year to extend their lead in the Championship standings to 30 points.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori added to their podium haul with an untroubled second place to keep them insight of their UAE rivals in the title race.
Class 1 newcomer Darren Nicholson and Class 1 returnee Peter McGrath took full advantage of the situation to celebrate their entry into the Championship finishing in third place in Victory Team Australia, with Zabo-Isiklar and FARO ACCIAI picking up valuable points coming home in fourth and fifth spots, but there was frustration for Spirit of Gabon-Poliform who stopped on lap 1.
EMIRATES/DUBAI DUTY FREE and SKYDIVE DUBAI GRAND PRIX, RACE 2 – Results
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) 00.28.16,28
2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 00.08,77
3. 7 Victory Team of Australia - D Nicholson (AUS) / P Mc Grath (NZL) + 00.48,36
4. 91 Zabo Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 01.28,00
5. 23 FA.RO. Acciai - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 2 LAPS
6. 74 Poliform - G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) dnf
96 Spirit of Qatar - H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) dns
95 Spirit of Qatar - A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) dns
10 Fendi Racing - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) dns
8 Subseapilot - Y Bratland (NOR) / B Jacobsen (NOR) dns
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - after race 7
1. 3 Victory Team - 132pts
2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 102pts
3. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 73pts
4. 10 Fendi Racing - 50pts
5. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 45pts
6. 91 Zabo Isiklar - 40pts
7. 7 Victory Team of Australia - 19pts
8. 23 FA.RO. Acciai - 18pts
9. 74 Spirit of Gabon - Poliform - 13pts
10. 90 Welmax - 5pts
11= 9 Welmax - 0pts
12= 8 Subseapilot - 0pts
MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIP - after race 4
1. 3 Victory Team - 67pts
2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 54pts
3. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 52pts
4= 7 Victory Team of Australia - 19pts
4= 10 Fendi Racing - 19pts
6. 91 Zabo Isiklar - 14pts
7. 23 FA.RO. Acciai - 11pts
8. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 9pts
9= 74 Spirit of Gabon - Poliform - 0pts
9= 90 Welmax - 0pts
9= 8 Subseapilot - 0pts