At the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Nadir Bin Hendi made a dream return to the Class 1 World Championship winning race 1 alongside Darren Nicholson in Victory Team Australia in their first outing together.
2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race 1 - 7 Victory Team Australia
It was an emotional moment for the four-time World Champion competing in Class 1 for the first time following a two-year ban. 'It has been a very difficult time but to come back and win is a great feeling,' said Bin Hendi. 'Of course I am happy but very disappointed for Arif and Mohammed'
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.
2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race 1 - Team Abu Dhabi
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. 'We were on the back foot at the beginning starting in fifth and having to go the long way round at the first turn. To make up places and get second is a good performance and keeps us in the title race.'
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
World Championship - after round 4, race 1
1. 3 Victory Team - 96pts 2= 7 Victory Team Australia - 80pts 3. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - 80pts 4. 10 LF10 - 71pts 5. LF8 - 59pts 6. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 50pts 7. 74 Poliform 34pts 8. Team Abu Dhabi - 30pts
Class 1 website