Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi delivered another racing master class to win race 2 of the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi and claim Victory Team’s 14th World title. Race 2 honours in V1 went to Bernico-New Star’s Belgium duo, Nico Bertels and Frank Hemelaer, with fourth place for race 1 winners Aaron Ciantar and Dominique Martini in Chaudron good enough to seal the V1 World Championship.
Starting from pole, Victory’s newly crowned Champions’ only challenge came at the start in a drag race to the first turn with Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in LFF10, before they grabbed the advantage and disappeared off into the distance. Today’s win, the duo’s fifth of the season, was another demonstration of their absolute superiority, going on to take the chequered flag and complete the 10 laps by a winning margin of 54.42seconds.
In a repeat of race 1 the pace of the leaders was simply too much for Team Abu Dhabi and LFF10, the only other boats to go the distance, LFF8 stopping on lap 1 followed a lap later by Relekta-Zabo-Isiklar, with New Star-Poliform failing to make the start.
After a processional seven laps the race and the fight for the second and third steps of the podium between LFF10 and Team Abu Dhabi’s Gary Ballough and John Tomlinson ignited. LFF10 led until lap 8 but could not shake of their pursuers and were slowly and surely hauled in by the American’s with the time split down three seconds.
At the end lap 9 and going into the final turn Team Abu Dhabi came alongside LFF10, both outfits going into the turn side-by-side and both hooking, with Team Abu Dhabi emerging in front and running out the final lap to claim second spot.
Despite the disappointment of today’s retirement Ugur Isik and Cristian Zaborowski’s season-haul of five podiums was enough to give them the runners-up slot in the World Championship, with Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in third.
Not for the first time this season the V1 teams produced some great racing, with the lead changing hands and the race for the podium places hotly contested. After yesterday’s somewhat fraught day for Bernico-New Star’s four man squad, DQ’d from both qualifying and race 1, Nico Bertels and Frank Hemelaer came back in style to take a well-deserved win.
Champions elect Chaudron got the jump on pole-sitters Aquasport and led from the start with Bernico-New Star giving chase and keeping the gap too under eight seconds. On Lap 5 Bernico-New Star hit the front and pulled away from a struggling Chaudron to take their second win of the year.
Behind the leaders Aquasport, Karelpiu and Tommy One enjoyed and produced the best fight of the race; first Aquasport held the upper hand, then Karelpiu grabbed the advantage until lap 5 the two trading places again before Daniel Cramphorn and Nico Huybens hit trouble and dropped back, eventually finishing in fifth.
With Chaudron slowing to a crawl and limping home in fourth, the remaining podium positions went to Karelpiu’s Antonio Schiano and Federico Montanari and Tommy One’s Stefano Bonanno and Maurizio Schepici.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Hercules Sagemann’s Andreas Podolsky and Udo Gross who struggled with technical problems, completing just five laps, Silverline’s Ian Blacker and Drew Langdon sidelined before the start with broken engine.