December 6, 2013

Class 1 - Abu Dhabi UAE Grand Prix

RACE 1
Nadir Bin Hendi made a dream return to the Class 1 World Championship winning race 1 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix alongside Darren Nicholson in Victory Team Australia in their first outing together.
It was an emotional moment for the four-time World Champion competing in Class 1 for the first time following a two-year ban. 
The win came at the expense of teammates and Championship leader’s Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri who led for eight of the ten laps when, for the second time in two races, a broken propeller robbed them of the victory and the chance to close out the title race.
Christian Zaborowski and Ugur Isik recovered from a poor start position to move up from fifth to take their fifth podium of the year, taking the chequered flag in third but were elevated to second due to the time compensation given for running the cast propellers.
Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Faleh Al Mansoori rounded off a good day for the UAE ending the team’s run of bad luck to take their best result of the year finishing third to give rookie driver Al Mansoori his first podium.
Engine issues for LF10 before the start of the race ended Giovanni Carpitella and Ahmed Al Hameli’s chances of challenging for the podium falling a lap behind immediately then making up ground to eventually finish ahead of their teammates LF8 in fourth.
Victory 3 limped across the line in sixth to pick up valuable points ahead of FA.RO ACCIAI, technical problem’s ending Poliform-Polimersan’s race on lap 1.
Today’s result cuts Victory’s lead at the top of the points standings to 16, with Victory Team Australia and Zabo-Isiklar now tied in second place on 80 and with a maximum 20 points still up for grabs the Championship will be decided in the final race of the season tomorrow.
Starting from pole position Al Zafeen and Al Marri hit the front on the start leg on the outside of Lulu Island and were eight seconds clear of Victory Australia at the end of lap one, Team Abu Dhabi in third ahead of Zabo-Isiklar and Poliform-Polimersan, with title contenders LF10 down in eighth spot.
By mid-race the Champions-elect were 22 seconds clear and in cruise control and on their way to the team’s 13th World title when with just two laps remaining they suddenly slowed and were passed by Bin Hendi and Nicholson to take the win.
After gearbox problems in qualifying Zabo-Isiklar throttleman Christian Zaborowski was more than pleased with second place. 
Team Abu Dhabi was never challenged for their eventual third place and despite the recovery from a lap down to finish fourth, LF10’s title challenge is over. FA.RO ACCIAI again picked up points with Roberto Lo Piano and Luca Nicolini finishing in seventh.
ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX – race 1 
1. 7 Victory Team Australia - D Nicholson (AUS) / N Bin Hendi (UAE) 29:40.54s
2. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 1:04.00s
3. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - F Al Mansoori (UAE) / R Al Tayer (UAE) + 1:10.00s
4. 10 LF10 - Ahmed Al Hameli (UAE) / G Carpitella (ITA) - + 1:28.00s
5. 8 LF8 - M Jennings (GBR) / A Amato (ITA) + 2:43.00s
6. 3 Victory - A Al Zaffain (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) + 1 lap
7. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - R Lo Piano (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 1 lap
Poliform - T Oktem (TUR) / G Montavoci (ITA) - DNF
RACE 2
Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri produced a command performance to win race 2 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and clinch a record 13th Class 1 World Championship title for Victory Team.
The only brief challenge to their utter supremacy over the 14 laps came early on when their teammates Darren Nicholson and Nadir Bin Hendi in Victory Australia jumped them at the start on the outside leg to lead, albeit briefly.
But a mistake by Nicholson at the first turn allowed Al Zaffain and Al Marri to get ahead and once out front they simply disappeared off into the distance to win by over 40 seconds with Al Zaffain and Al Marri taking their 37th and 27th career wins. 
Nicholson and Bin Hendi gave chase in second but their title challenge ended on lap two when an engine let go and despite efforts to bring the boat home to try to pick up points they retired from the race four laps later.
Giovanni Carpitella and F1H2O star Ahmed Al Hameli moved in to second spot on lap three after Poliform-Polimersan stopped with an engine problem, but they had no answer to the pace of the leaders, running out the race to take second place. 
After a frustrating year Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Faleh Al Mansoori rounded off their season with a second podium in as many days moving up from sixth place at the end of lap one to finish in third. 
LF8’s Alfredo Amato and Miles Jennings benefitted from the retirees list and despite starting from eighth ended the day in fourth place ahead of Roberto Lo Piano and Luca Nicolini in FA.RO ACCIAI.
Chirstian Zaborowski and Ugur Isik were on the back foot from the start after failing to post a time in qualifying when a torque sensor broke, but despite starting from seventh they hauled Zabo-Isiklar up through the pack and were into third spot by lap 3 and chasing down LF10 when they too had engine problems, compounded by steering issues, slowing to a crawl on lap seven.
Zaborowski and Isik nursed their stricken boat around the 5.05Nm circuit for the next three laps and literally floated across the finish line to complete 10 laps to secure the vital points needed to secure the runners-up slot in the overall World Championship standings, finishing ahead of LF10 by one point.
ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX – race 2
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zaffain (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) - 41:22.39s
2. 10 LF10 - A Al Hameli (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 41.41s
3. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - F Al Mansoori (UAE) / R Al Tayer (UAE) + 2:04s
4. 8 LF8 - M Jennings (GBR) / A Amato (ITA) + 1 lap
5. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - R Lo Piano (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 1 lap
6. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 4 laps
7 Victory Team Australia - D Nicholson (AUS)/N Bin Hendi (UAE)-DNF
74 Poliform - T Oktem (TUR) / G Montavoci (ITA) - DNF
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS
1. 3 Victory Team - 120pts 
2. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - 89pts 
3. 10 LF10 - 88pts 
4. 7 Victory Team Australia - 84pts 
5. LF8 - 72pts 
6. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 61pts 
7. Team Abu Dhabi - 46pts 
8. 74 Poliform 38pts