Six out of six for Spirit of Norway

WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship Round 7 Mina Seyahi Grand Prix DUBAI - U.A.E. 29 November - 1 December 2007. Raffaello Bastiani ©
Spirit of Norway’s Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis made it six wins out of six after setting the fastest time in today’s Edox Pole Position, posting 3m 05.06s around the 4.4Nm circuit, on their first run of the qualifying session.

'Going out first was the right thing to do and it is the same tactic we have applied pretty much all year, but our set-up wasn’t perfect and we didn’t actually have a great lap – but it was obviously better than anyone else could manage.' said Steve Curtis. Norwegians Jorn Tandberg and Christian Zaborowski produced their best qualifying performance of the season to take second place in 3m 06.68s, with Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Luca Nicolini, Qatar 95, also producing their best outing, going third quickest with a time of 3m 07.70s.

For Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini in Qatar 96, fourth fastest on the day may not have been the result they were looking for, knowing that they must go for the win in tomorrow’s Mina Seyahi Grand Prix, but they are where they need to be, ahead of their title rivals and championship leaders Victory 77, who, after suffering minor technical problems, will start from sixth position tomorrow, with Chris Parsonage and Bard Eker in Negotiator between them and Qatar 96, in fifth after producing their best performance in qualifying.

Spirit of Norway’s decision to try for a fast lap early in the session proved decisive as the strong winds and rough seas increased during the session, with the target time they set for their rivals, 3m 05.06s ultimately proving unbeatable. Spirit of Norway 20, Victory 77 and Fainplast’s new pairing, Kolbjorn Selmer and Giovanni Carpitella were next out but all failed to trouble the provisional pole sitters - Victory 77’s time of 3m 15.95s proving to be the best. The first real threat to Spirit of Norway came from Jotun with 3m 06.68s on their opener, missing out by less than two seconds to go second quickest, ahead of Victory 77. Negotiator’s opening gambit, 3m 18.09s fell short but put them into fourth spot, only to see their time immediately bettered by Qatar 95 with 3m 07.70s, and then by team-mates Qatar 96,with 3m 13.96s and both moving ahead of Victory 77.

Both Qatar boats went again, but failed to unseat Spirit of Norway or Jotun – despite Qatar 96 improving its time by six seconds - and with the clock counting down, Negotiator went for its second run and edged ahead of Victory 77, with Jotun failing to improve. Fainplast and SeveneleveN both improved on their second runs, with Victory 7 the only outfit to use all four laps, their best time, 3m 19.73s, set on their final run.

The championship leaders, Victory 77, line up for tomorrow’s Mina Seyahi Grand Prix in sixth place but with a 22-point lead, and know that if they can get ahead of their title rivals Qatar 96 and finish ahead of them, the world championship is theirs. But if Qatar 96 can stay ahead and finish with several boats between themselves and Victory 77, the championship will hinge on a nerve-tingling final race of the season in Dubai in a week’s time.

EDOX POLE POSITION – round 6
1. Spirit of Norway 10 – B Gjelsten (NOR)/S Curtis (GB) – 3m 05.06s
2. Jotun 90 – C Zaborowski (NOR)/J Tandberg (NOR) – 3m 06.68s
3. Qatar 95 – A Al Sulaiti (QAT)/L Nicolini (ITA) – 3m 07.70s
4. Qatar 96 – H Al Thani (QAT)/M Nicolini (ITA) – 3m 08.98s
5. Negotiator 50 – B Eker (NOR)/C Parsonage (GB) – 3m 15.29s
6. Victory 77 – A Al Zafeen(UAE)/JM Sanchez (FR) – 3m 15.95s
7. Victory 7 – T Al Sayed (UAE)/N Hendi (UAE) – 3m 19.73s
8. Spirit of Norway 20 – T Barry-Cotter (AUS)/P Nilsen (NOR) – 3m 21.07s
9. Fainplast 2 – K Selmer (NOR)/G Carpitella (ITA) – 3m 40.67s
10. SeveneleveN 18 – T Polli (ITA)/N Giorgi (ITA) – 3m 50.45s
Foresti & Suardi 8 – M Pennesi (ITA)/G Montavoci (ITA) – DNS

EDOX POLE POSITION CHAMPIONSHIP – after round 6 of 7
1. Spirit of Norway 10 – B Gjelsten (NOR)/S Curtis (GB) – 120pts
2. Victory 77 – A Al Zafeen(UAE)/JM Sanchez (FR) – 63pts
3. Qatar 96 – H Al Thani (QAT)/M Nicolini (ITA) – 61pts
4. Jotun 90 – C Zaborowski (NOR)/J Tandberg (NOR) 58pts
5. Victory 7 – A Al Sayed (UAE)/N Hendi (UAE) – 53pts
6. Qatar 95 – A Al Sulaiti (QAT)/L Nicolini (ITA) – 41pts
7. Spirit of Norway 20 – T Barry-Cotter (AUS)/P Nilsen (NOR) – 21pts
8. Foresti & Suardi 8 – M Pennesi (ITA)/G Montavoci (ITA) – 20pts
9. Negotiator 50 – B Eker (NOR)/C Parsonage (GB) – 19pts
10. SeveneleveN 18 – T Polli (ITA)/N Giorgi (ITA) – 7pts
11. Fainplast 2 – K Selmer (NOR)/G Carpitella (ITA) – 4pts

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Raffaello Bastiani © WPPA Class 1 World Powerboat Championship Round 7 Mina Seyahi Grand Prix DUBAI
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