Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Remarkable win for Dubai's Victory Team
by Nigel Quilter on 21 Dec 2012
Following a convincing win in race 1 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri, Dubai's Victory Team is celebrating a remarkable 12th world Championship success.
Victory Team - UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Simon Palfrader - copyright http://www.class-1.com/
The Victory duo seemed unfazed after finding themselves in third place after the start and played a waiting game, coming from behind to take their sixth win of the season to seal a fifth World title for Al Zafeen and a third for Al Marri.
Today’s win also secures a sixth Middle East Championship for Victory after dropping just eight points in five starts, with Al Zafeen winning both titles for the last four years.
Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella raced to their third podium of the year bringing LFFendi10 home in second place, with Darren Nicholson and Peter McGrath, running under the Victory Australia banner, producing yet another outstanding performance to make it three podiums from five outings in their short end of season stint in Class 1, finishing third.
From the green flag Al Zafeen and Al Marri watched as the Italian duo in LFFendi10 came from sixth place on the line and raced into a comfortable lead on the rough 2Nm start run outside Lulu Island to lead by five seconds at the end of lap1.
Nicholson and McGrath were up into second ahead of their adopted teammates Victory, with Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci in Spirit of Gabon-Poliform in fourth and Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori in fifth.
LFFendi10 extended their lead after opting to run their two mandatory short laps immediately, to open up a 17 second gap but now over Spirit of Gabon-Poliform and Zabo-Isiklar who also went for the short laps early.
But by the end of lap 5 with all boats having run their short laps, Victory hit the front to lead by nine seconds with LFFendi10 second and Victory Australia third.
The leading trio remained line astern for the remaining five laps with Al Zafeen and Al Marri running out the comfortable winners by 34 seconds. 'It was always our plan to take it easy at the start and not to take any risks,' said Arif Al Zafeen after his 29th career win. 'I know this course so well and knew we had the pace to get back to the front once we were running on the inside.'
A third podium in six outings since they switched into their Victory hull has now moved Fendi and Carpitella up into third place in the overall Championship standings, with Luca Formilli Fendi understandably pleased with the result. 'To move up from sixth to first in one lap is pretty impressive,' he said. 'It was a great start by us and we really pushed on the outside leg but we always knew that Victory would come back at us. They have the boat to suit these circuits.'
Nicholson and McGrath’s short time on the tour just gets better and better, the Australian-New Zealand pairing now boasting two race podiums and one from yesterday’s qualifying. 'We can’t complain,' said McGrath. 'We knew that when 10 got to the turn in front and we lost the first corner it would be hard for us to get back at them. But we ran well on the outside and did all we could inside.'
Team Abu Dhabi’s hopes of a podium finish on home waters disappeared after dropping a place at the start, but Al Tayer and Al Mansoori regained the place on lap five to finish in fourth and secure the runners-up slot in the World and Middle East Championship standings.
Spirit of Gabon-Poliform and Zabo-Isiklar battled it out in the latter stages and enjoyed a six lap tussle for fifth and six spots, Cappellini and Montavoci winning the duel to finish in front by just four seconds, with both FARO ACCIAI and Subseapilot going the distance and picking up valuable points.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race 1 – Results:
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) 00.29.49,34
2. 10 Fendi Racing - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 00.34,39
3. 7 Victory Team of Australia - D Nicholson (AUS) / P Mc Grath (NZL) + 00.38,39
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 00.52,72
5. 74 Poliform - G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) + 01.25,00
6. 91 Zabo Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 01.29,00
7. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 1 LAP
8. 8 Subseapilot - Y Bratland (NOR) / B Jacobsen (NOR) + 1 LAP
World Championship - after race 7:
1. 3 Victory Team - 157pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 114pts 3. 10 Fendi Racing - 68pts 4. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 53pts 5. 91 Zabo Isiklar - 47pts 6. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 45pts 7. 7 Victory Team of Australia - 33pts 8. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 23pts 9. 74 Spirit of Gabon - Poliform - 20pts 10. 90 Welmax - 5pts 11. 8 Subseapilot - 3pts 12. 9 Welmax - 0pts
Middle East Championship - after race 5:
1. 3 Victory Team - 92pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 66pts 3. 10 Fendi Racing - 37pts 4. 7 Victory Team of Australia - 33pts 5. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 32pts 6. 91 Zabo Isiklar - 21pts 7. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 16pts 8. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 9pts 9. 74 Spirit of Gabon - Poliform - 7pts 10. 8 Subseapilot - 3pts 11. 90 Welmax - Class 1 website