In the Emirates-Dubai Duty Free and Skydive Dubai Grand Prix, Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis produced a brilliant tactical drive in rough conditions off the Mina Seyahi to come from behind to take their second win of the season in race 1.
The pole-sitters and 2012 Champions elect, Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri saw their hopes of victory disappear in the latter stages to finish in second place ahead of Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in LFF10.
The decision by the Spirit of Qatar 96 crew to take their two mandatory long-laps early after a poor start dropped them to third place behind LFF10 and the early race leader’s Victory, paid off.
They began their fight back as the front two runners went for their long laps and on lap six passed LFF10 and then set about overhauling the 40-second deficit to Victory.
By lap eight they had cut the gap to ten seconds, passing the Championship leader’s two laps later to go on and take the win by 14-seconds, completing the 12 laps/53.76Nm in 38:03.77s.
Despite a brilliant start by Al Zafeen and Al Marri and easing out to a comfortable lead in the early stages of the race, an engine issue in the closing laps and second place means their hopes of trying to close-out the Championship in front of their home crowd now depends on them winning race 2 and Team Abu Dhabi, who finished in fourth place, finishing outside the top six.
Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella mirrored their performance in official qualifying, but a ballast issue mid-race prevented them from holding off the Spirit of Qatar charge to the front, costing them a possible second spot.
Peter McGrath and Class 1 newcomer Darren Nicholson survived one or two nervous moments in the new Victory hull, running as Victory Team Australia, coming home in fifth place despite being given a time penalty for missing a turn buoy, ahead of Zabo-Isiklar and FA.RO ACCIAI.
A 360 spin-out on lap two ended Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci’s race, with Yngve Bratland and Bjorge Jacobsen’s Subseapilot stopping on the same lap with a technical problem. Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini failed to make the start after damaging Spirit of Qatar 95 in qualifying.
Emirates/Dubai Duty Free and Skydive Dubai Grand Prix, Race 1 – Results:
1. 96 Spirit of Qatar - H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) - 00.38.03,77
2. 3 Victory - A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) + 00.14,72
3. 10 Fendi Racing - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 00.35,56
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 02.46,00
5. 7 Victory Team of Australia - D Nicholson (AUS) / P Mc Grath (NZL) + 03.57,00
6. 91 Zabo Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 1 LAP
7. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 2 LAPS
8. 8 Subseapilot - Y Bratland (NOR) / B Jacobsen (NOR) dnf
9. 74 Poliform - G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) dnf
10. 95 Spirit of Qatar - A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) dns
World Championship - after race six
1. 3 Victory Team - 110pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 83pts 3. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 73pts 4. 10 Fendi Racing - 50pts 5. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 45pts 6. 91 Zabo Isiklar - 27pts 7. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 11pts 8. 74 Spirit of Gabon - Poliform - 9pts 9. 7 Victory Team of Australia - 7pts 10. 90 Welmax - 5pts 11. 9 Welmax - 0pts 12. 8 Subseapilot - 0pts
Middle East Championship - after race three
1. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 52pts 2. 3 Victory Team - 47pts 3. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 39pts 4. 10 Fendi Racing - 19pts 5. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 9pts 6. 7 Victory Team of Australia - 7pts 7. 91 Zabo Isiklar - 5pts 8. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 4pts 9= 74 Spirit of Gabon - Poliform - 0pts 9= 90 Welmax - 0pts 9= 8 Subseapilot - 0pts Class 1 website