Victory’s Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi shrugged off the disadvantage of having to run an extra ‘penalty lap’ to finish in an impressive second place, with Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini making it a double podium celebration for the Spirit of Qatar Team.
Today’s win finally ended Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis’ long wait for their first win together since teaming-up in 2008 and hinged on a spectacular start by the Spirit of Qatar pairing, who moved from third place on the start line to immediately challenge pole-sitters, Victory’s Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi, for the lead at the first turn.
The run down the long straight saw the Victory and Qatar boats dicing side-by-side, with Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis holding their nerve to win the drag race and grab the advantage and go on to lead at the end of the first lap.
From the front they were able to control the race and go on to win the 8-lap, 52.45Nm race by over 8 seconds at an average speed of 186.61km/h. “We knew the start would be important and we knew Victory would be very very fast, said Curtis. “But we got the jump on them at the end of the long first leg where it was a little bumpy and then managed to keep them behind us, waiting for them to take their long laps and taking ours as late as possible.”
Second place for the defending World Champions keeps them at the top of the points table, but sees their lead cut to five points. “We tried our best but it was always going to be hard in such a short race to make up the time to cover an extra long lap,” said Bin Hendi. “I am happy with our performance but finishing number one is always our target – tomorrow is another day.”
Matteo Nicolini marked his 100th race start with his second podium in three races with newcomer Ali Al Neama, but was clearly unimpressed finishing in third place. “I am very frustrated by the result” he said. “Unfortunately we didn’t have the right gear ratio to put on the boat, the one that I was using in pole position. That reduced our performance and we didn’t have enough speed in the race.”
Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci, also making his 100th start, produced an impressive showing in kim.com and enjoyed a race long duel with Team Abu Dhabi, passing the Emirati duo of Mansoori and Al Tayer on lap 3 and holding off their sustained challenge to finish fourth.
But Team Abu Dhabi’s fifth place was short lived following their post-race disqualification for missing a single outside course marker.
Welmax, Fendi Racing and ferskfisken.no enjoyed their own private battle in the lower order, swapping places throughout the race – Fendi Racing incurring a post race penalty lap dropping them to seventh, with Relekta having a frustrating outing, finishing eighth.
BMW NORWEGIAN GRAND PRIX, RACE 1 – results
1. 96 Spirit of Qatar – H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) 00.31.13,89
2. 3 Victory – A Al Zafeen (UAE) / N Bin Hendi (UAE) + 00.07,90
5. 95 Spirit of Qatar – A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) + 00.21,46
4. 74 kim.com – G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) + 00.34,00
5. 90 Welmax – K Selmer (NOR) / J Tandberg (NOR) + 02.16,70
6. 69 ferskfisken.no – F Sundsdal (NOR) / B Jacobsen (NOR) + 02.37,50
7. 10 Fendi Racing – L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 02.34,76*
8. 91 Relekta – U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 2 Laps
9. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 00.44,12**
50 Parsonage Racing – G Manuzzi (SMR) / P Virik Nilsen (NOR) dns
* N°10 1 Long Lap penalty applied
** N°5 disqualified – rule 29.07
UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP – after race 3
1. 3 Victory – 55pts 2. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 50pts 3. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 31pts 4. 10 Fendi Racing – 23pts 5. 74 kim.com – 19pts 6. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 18pts 7. 90 Welmax – 10pts 8. 50 Parsonage Racing – 8pts 9= 69 ferskfisken.no – 5 pts
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP – after race 1
1. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 20pts 2. 3 Victory – 15pts 3. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 12pts 4. 74 kim.com – 9pts 5. 90 Welmax – 7pts 6. 69 ferskfisken.no – 5pts 7. 10 Fendi Racing – 4 pts 8. 91 Relekta – 3pts 9= 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 0 pts 9= 50 Parsonage Racing – 0pts