|Third And Fourth Places For Spirit Of Qatar Boatsin Second Race Of 2012 Pearl Qatar Grand Prix|
|Sunday, 18 March 2012 08:07|
DOHA (QATAR): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis claimed the final podium position in the second race at the Pearl Qatar Grand Prix, round one of the UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship, in Doha on Saturday.
The Victory 3 crew of Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Mohammed Al-Marri overcame a fierce early challenge from Guido Cappellini and Gian Maria Gabbiani in Poliform to eventually take the chequered flag from Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori by the margin of 15.72 seconds.
Spirit of Qatar 95’s Ali Al-Neama and Matteo Nicolini finished fourth overall, but it was a disappointing conclusion to the weekend for the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF)-backed team after the superb showing on Thursday.
It meant that Victory 3 and Spirit of Qatar 96 both had a win and a third position to show for their Qatar weekend and Team Abu Dhabi had earned a pair of second-placed finishes.
“There’s always the next race,” reflected Sheikh Hassan, driver of third-placed Spirit of Qatar 96 and joint leader of the championship. “I wasn’t too bothered about the lack of wind. I knew we did not have the acceleration or the top speed. It is wide open. The championship has not been this way for the past few years. Our fastest lap today is less than half a second slower than the leading boat, so we can go back and plan something for the next race.”
Pearl Qatar Grand Prix – race two
Following Spirit of Qatar 95’s disqualification from race one results for a minor technical non-conformity, the two Qatar boats lined up in first and fourth places for the second 11-lap race of the weekend on the revised 6.63Nm course off the Pearl.
Qatar mechanics eventually discovered that a corroded battery switch had been to blame for the engine issues that had affected Spirit of Qatar 95 on Wednesday and Thursday. A small test on Friday confirmed that the engine was running well.
The race started in calmer conditions than the Spirit of Qatar team had anticipated and Poliform was the surprise leader, the Italian crewed boat edging into a 3.08s advantage over Victory 3, with Spirit of Qatar 96 and 95 down in fourth and sixth places. Poliform maintained the initiative through lap two and Spirit of Qatar 95 passed Fendi Racing to take fifth, but the Qatar boats were clearly struggling to make up water on the leading trio.
The field held station through lap three but Poliform’s lead was reduced to 1.75s by the end of lap four. Victory 3 managed to pass on the next lap and began to pull away from the field to take a near 10-second advantage into lap six, as the two Qatar boats remained entrenched in fourth and fifth.
The race passed the halfway point and Victory 3’s lead had grown to 16.96s, but Poliform was in trouble and stopped and Team Abu Dhabi took up the chase in second place, with Spirit of Qatar 96 and 95 climbing to third and fourth. But Victory 3 continued to edge clear over the next tour of the Doha Bay course and reached lap eight with a 16.03s advantage.
There were no changes to the running order through laps eight and nine and Victory 3 began the final lap with an 18.89s lead over Team Abu Dhabi, with Spirit of Qatar 96 and 95 in third and fourth and Fendi Racing bringing up the rear of the field in fifth. The Dubai team held on to reach the chequered flag 15.72s clear of Team Abu Dhabi, with the Qatar boats in third and fourth.
The final practice session of the weekend took place in flat-calm conditions and Spirit of Qatar 95 opted out of a session where Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis set the early pace with two laps of 3m 49.87s and 3m 47.84s.
Victory 3 and Team Abu Dhabi were also out on the water briefly, but it was Fendi Racing that clocked the next official lap time of 4m 09.57s and Team Abu Dhabi later edged in front with a 3m 47.42s tour.
Gabon joins 2012 Class One calendar
Officials at H20 Racing have now added a new venue to the calendar for the 2012 UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship calendar. The scenic West African country of Gabon, which co-hosted the recent Africa Cup of Nations, is scheduled to play host to the next round of the series in Libreville on June 29-July 1, 2012. The African race will replace the Norwegian Grand Prix in Norway, which has now been cancelled and had originally been intended for the same weekend.
2012 Pearl Qatar Grand Prix – race two result (Saturday)
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 39m 13.68s
2. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 @ 15.72s
3. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 @ 28.53s
4. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 @ 49.53s
5. Luca Formilli-Fendi (ITA)/Giovanni Carpitella (ITA) Luca Fendi Racing 10 1 lap behind
Guido Cappellini (ITA)/Gian Maria Gabbiani (ITA) Poliform 74 DNF
Ugur Isik (TUR)/Christian Zaborowski (NOR) Relekta 91 DNF
Paul Gaiser (BRZ)/Bjorge Jacobsen(NOR) Welmax Offshore 90 DNF
2012 UIM Class One World/Middle East Powerboat Championships – after round one
1. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 32 pts
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 32 pts
3. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 30 pts
4. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 9 pts
5. Luca Formilli-Fendi (ITA)/Giovanni Carpitella (ITA) Luca Fendi Racing 10 7 pts
For further information:
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).