Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri produced another faultless display to win race 2 of the Skydive Dubai & Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix and clinch the 2011 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship. In what has been a difficult week for the Dubai team the scratch pairing of Al Zafeen and Al Marri, racing together for the first time, responded in the best way possible to complete a hat-trick of wins in their home Grand Prix, their double race win clinching an eleventh World title for Victory Team.
The turn of events of the last two days had thrown up an unexpected winner-takes-all title showdown between Victory and the twin attack of Spirit of Qatar, but the hoped for fight on the water for the title never happened.
An engine problem for Spirit of Qatar 95 as they left the wet pits before the race, ended Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini’s title hopes, joining the race three laps down and coming home in eighth place. A recurrence of yesterday’s steering problem hampered Spirit of Qatar 96’s drive up from tenth to third, eventually finishing in fourth, to cap a disappointing and frustrating day for the Qatar Team. “It was the worst ever Grand Prix for the Qatar Team,” said Sheikh Hassan. “We had the steering lock on us four times and we had to stop to unlock it each time and it cost us so much time. It was the same problem as yesterday.
“Ali and Matteo couldn’t start an engine before the start and they had their own nightmare. Still, we were second and third in the Championship and there is always next year.”
In what was almost a repeat of yesterday’s extraordinary drive, the Victory 3 duo again made their intentions clear at the start and led from the flag, extending their lead lap-by-lap and going on to complete the 16-lap, 75.40Nm in 45m 31.71s and win by over 55 seconds. “To be able to produce two races like that is something special,” said Al Zafeen after winning his fourth World crown. “We pushed hard all through the race and took some risks.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori produced their best performance since teaming-up in Norway in July, and celebrated the return to racing of Al Tayer, after breaking his ankle in a Jet Ski competition, with an untroubled second place to give them the runners-up slot in the Middle East Championship and complete a very good day for the United Arab Emirates. “We both did a very good job today and I am very pleased to have my first podium with Majed,” said Al Tayer. “Victory was too strong for us for sure but we ran a good set-up and had no problems.”
There were also celebrations in the Norwegian-Turkish camp with Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski producing an outstanding drive to take their first podium together.
Starting from the outside of the start line down in eighth place the Relketa crew adopted a smart long lap strategy and by lap seven were up to fifth place. They passed the ailing Spirit of Qatar 96 and yesterday’s podium finishers, Giorgio Manuzzi and Pal Virik Nilsen, in Victory 7 on lap 13 and held on to take a well-deserved third place, Zabo Racing’s first podium appearance since Abu Dhabi 2010. “At last,” said Christian Zaborowski. “This is a good omen for next season. We had to go the long way round at the start but in the clean water we began to make up places. We also took some long laps early and then watched and waited to see what the others were doing. The work we have done on the boat is now beginning to pay off.”
Bjorge Jackobsen and Kurt Olsen gave another steady performance in Welmax, moving up from tenth place at the end of lap one to take their second top six finish of the weekend and finish ahead of Fendi Racing, in what has been a rather disappointing weekend for Italians Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella.
A dramatic moment for Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci, spinning out and all but turning over Poliform inside Palm Island, ended their race on lap three, Montavoci saying “I don’t know how we didn’t go over, all I could see was water.”, with FA.RO ACCIAI going out three laps later with technical problems.
SKYDIVE DUBAI & DUBAI DUTY FREE GRAND PRIX, RACE 2 – results
1. 3 Victory – A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) 00.45.31,71
2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 00.56,47
3. 91 Relekta – U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 02.29,21
5. 7 Victory – G Manuzzi (SMR) / P V Nilsen (NOR) + 1 LAP
6. 90 Welmax (B) – B Jacobsen (NOR) / K Olsen (NOR) + 1 LAP
7. 10 Fendi Racing – L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 1 LAP
8. 95 Spirit of Qatar – A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) + 3 LAPS
9. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI – T Polli (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) DNF
10. 74 Poliform – G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) DNF
UIM CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP – after race 7
1. 3 Victory – 103pts 2. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 93pts 3. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 89pts 4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 67pts 5. 74 Poliform – 56pts 6. 91 Relekta – 41pts 7. 10 Fendi Racing – 27pts 8. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI – 24pts 9. 7 Victory – 19 pts 10. Welmax (B) – 17pts 11. 90 Welmax (A) – 14pts 12. 50 Parsonage Racing – 8pts 13. 69 ferskfisken.no – 5 pts 14. 18 MITI Tech Power – 4pts
MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIP – after race 4
1. 3 Victory – 80pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 42pts 4. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 40pts 4. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 37pts 5.10 Fendi Racing – 27pts 6. 7 Victory – 19pts 7= 74 Poliform – 17pts 7= 91 Relekta – 17pts 9= 90 Welmax (B) – 10pts 10. 50 Parsonage Racing – 8pts 11. 18 GiorgiOffshore – 4pts 12. 90 Welmax (A) – 3pts 13. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI – 2pts