13th Class 1 World Championship title for Victory Team
by Nigel Quilter on 7 Dec 2013
Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri produced a dominating performance to win race 2 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and clinch a record 13th Class 1 World Championship title for Victory Team.
Victory Team - 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Raffaello Bastiani
The only brief challenge to their utter supremacy over the 14 laps came early on when their teammates Darren Nicholson and Nadir Bin Hendi in Victory Australia jumped them at the start on the outside leg to lead, albeit briefly.
But a mistake by Nicholson at the first turn allowed Al Zaffain and Al Marri to get ahead and once out front they simply disappeared off into the distance to win by over 40 seconds with Al Zaffain and Al Marri taking their 37th and 27th career wins. 'Today the luck was on our side because we broke a prop on the penultimate lap,' said Al Zaffain. 'I was surprised to be passed at the beginning but seven is a very quick boat but once we got back ahead it was our race and our title.'
Nicholson and Bin Hendi gave chase in second but their title challenge ended on lap two when an engine let go and despite efforts to bring the boat home to try to pick up points they retired from the race four laps later.
Giovanni Carpitella and F1H2O star Ahmed Al Hameli moved in to second spot on lap three after Poliform-Polimersan stopped with an engine problem, but they had no answer to the pace of the leaders, running out the race to take second place. 'We made a good start and the first two laps were okay but then we started to lose speed and acceleration. Maybe an engine issue or a propeller, we have to check.'
After a frustrating year Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Faleh Al Mansoori rounded off their season with a second podium in as many days moving up from sixth place at the end of lap one to finish in third. 'Faleh has really driven well this weekend and showed he has a good feel for the boat,' said Al Tayer. I felt very comfortable in both races and today our set-up was very good.'
LF8’s Alfredo Amato and Miles Jennings benefitted from the retirees list and despite starting from eighth ended the day in fourth place ahead of Roberto Lo Piano and Luca Nicolini in FA.RO ACCIAI.
Chirstian Zaborowski and Ugur Isik were on the back foot from the start after failing to post a time in qualifying when a torque sensor broke, but despite starting from seventh they hauled Zabo-Isiklar up through the pack and were into third spot by lap 3 and chasing down LF10 when they too had engine problems, compounded by steering issues, slowing to a crawl on lap seven.
Zaborowski and Isik nursed their stricken boat around the 5.05Nm circuit for the next three laps and literally floated across the finish line to complete 10 laps to secure the vital points needed to secure the runners-up slot in the overall World Championship standings, finishing ahead of LF10 by one point.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – race 2
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zaffain (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) - 41:22.39s
2. 10 LF10 - A Al Hameli (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 41.41s
3. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - F Al Mansoori (UAE) / R Al Tayer (UAE) + 2:04s
4. 8 LF8 - M Jennings (GBR) / A Amato (ITA) + 1 lap
5. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - R Lo Piano (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 1 lap
6. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 4 laps
7 Victory Team Australia - D Nicholson (AUS)/N Bin Hendi (UAE)-DNF
74 Poliform - T Oktem (TUR) / G Montavoci (ITA) - DNF
World Championship Positions
1. 3 Victory Team - 120pts 2. 91 Zabo-Isiklar - 89pts 3. 10 LF10 - 88pts 4. 7 Victory Team Australia - 84pts 5. LF8 - 72pts 6. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 61pts 7. Team Abu Dhabi - 46pts 8. 74 Poliform 38pts Class 1 website
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