|Spirit Of Qatar Teams Finish Third And Sixth In First Italian Grand Prix Race|
|Sunday, 23 September 2012 01:55|
CERNOBBIO (ITALY): Qatar Ali-Neama and His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani finished third and sixth overall in race one at the Italian Grand Prix, round three of the 2012 UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship, on Lake Como on Saturday afternoon.
Partnered by Italian Matteo Nicolini and England’s Steve Curtis respectively, the Spirit of Qatar duo were not able to stay with the Victory 3 crew of Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Mohammed Al-Marri, once the Emirati crew made a good second start to the race that had initially been red flagged following a crash involving Gian Maria Gabiani and Luca Nicolini.
Sheikh Hassan held third place for much of the race and looked set to overhaul Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori for second position when the wash and spray from the rival boat cost them time, flooded an engine and dropped them back to sixth position. Al-Neama and Nicolini duly inherited third place and held on to finish behind the two Emirati boats in an all Middle East podium.
“Team Abu Dhabi overshot a buoy and we had to go around them on the inside,” said Sheikh Hassan, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) and driver of Spirit of Qatar 96.
“But they shut the door on us from about two or three feet and the engine flooded and it flooded the canopy. We knew that there were some other boats behind so we stayed away from them and it took us a while to get back up to speed with the engine, by which time it was too late to make a charge.
“There is always tomorrow, but the way the race course is designed it is a very tight line to the first buoy for the pole position boat and not really an advantage. We will see what happens tomorrow and whether they change the start procedure.”
A race Jury met late on Friday evening to discuss an alleged incident whereby Victory 3 had struck a turn buoy on the final qualifying lap of the Edox Pole Position on Friday afternoon. The protest put down by the Qatar team was duly upheld and the lap was erased from the standings, meaning that Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis started the initial race from pole position in Spirit of Qatar 96.
“We found out that there was a missing buoy out on the course so there was an unfair advantage for the boats, which did not have the chance to run the shorter course,” said Sheikh Hassan.
Race one - Saturday
Utilising the advantage of pole position into the first turn buoy was crucial for the Spirit of Qatar Team, but it was not to be and the race was red flagged on the start lap when Gian Maria Gabiani and Luca Nicolini inverted their boat, mercifully with neither crew member sustaining injuries.
The damaged boat was towed away from the course and action resumed with Victory 3 stealing the march on Team Abu Dhabi into the end of lap one. Spirit of Qatar 96 and 95 settled into third and fourth places. Victory 3 pulled slightly further ahead of its rivals through lap two, as the top four began to pull clear of the remaining three boats at the rear of the field.
The Victory 3 boat’s lead was 8.83sec through lap three and the Qatar boats retained third and fourth places behind Team Abu Dhabi. The leading quartet held station through lap four, with Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis beginning to close on Team Abu Dhabi until they dramatically slowed on lap five after getting caught in the wake of their rivals and dropped to sixth place.
Victory 3’s lead was 22.98sec through lap six of the eight in the shortened race and they began the final tour of the Lake Como course with a lead of 24.56sec. There were no late dramas for the world champions and they reached the chequered flag ahead of Team Abu Dhabi and Spirit of Qatar 95.
Victory 3 posted the fastest time in Saturday morning’s official practice session with a lap of 2min 41.42sec. Spirit of Qatar 95 ran for five laps and recorded a quickest circuit of 2min 42.45sec to slot into third position ahead of Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis in Spirit of Qatar 96 with a best lap of 2min 45.66sec.
A third practice on Sunday morning precedes the second of the Italian Grand Prix races from 14.30hrs on Sunday afternoon.
2012 Italian Grand Prix – race one results
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 8 laps
2. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 @ 26.89sec
3. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 @37.55sec
4. Luca Formilli-Fendi (ITA)/Giovanni Carpitella (ITA) Luca Fendi Racing 10 @57.49sec
5. Guido Cappellini (MON)/Giampaolo Montavoci (ITA) Spirit of Gabon/Poliform 74 @59.88sec
6. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 @1min 03.08sec
7. Ugur Isik (TUR)/Christian Zaborowski (NOR) Zabo-Isiklar 91 @1min 41.36sec
Gian Maria Gabbiani (ITA)/Luca Nicolini (ITA) FA.RO.ACCiAI 23 DNF
2012 UIM Class One World Powerboat Championships – current standings
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 74 pts
2. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 59 pts
3. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 37 pts
4. Luca Formilli-Fendi (ITA)/Giovanni Carpitella (ITA) Luca Fendi Racing 10 31 pts
5. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 21 pts
6. Ugur Isik (TUR)/Christian Zaborowski (NOR) Zabo-Isiklar 91 13 pts
7. Gian Maria Gabbiani (ITA)/Luca Nicolini (ITA) FA.RO.ACCiAI 23 7pts
7. Guido Cappellini (MON)/Giampaolo Montavoci (ITA) Spirit of Gabon/Poliform 7 pts
9. Paul Gaiser (BRZ)/Bjorge Jacobsen(NOR) Welmax Offshore 90 5 pts
2012 UIM Class One Pole Position Championship – after round three (amended)
1. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Mohammed Al-Marri (UAE) Victory 3 55 pts
2. Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 36 pts
3. Hassan Al-Thani (QAT)/Steve Curtis (GBR) Spirit of Qatar 96 35 pts
4. Ali Al-Neama (QAT)/Matteo Nicolini (ITA) Spirit of Qatar 95 19 pts
5. Paul Gaiser (BRZ)/Bjorge Jacobsen(NOR) Welmax Offshore 90 16 pts
6. Welmax 9 12 pts
7. Luca Formilli Fendi (ITA)/Giovanni Carpitella (ITA) LFF10 9 pts
8. Guido Cappellini (MON)/Giampaolo Montavoci (ITA) Spirit of Gabon/Poliform 74 5 pts
9. Ugur Isik (TUR)/Christian Zaborowski (NOR) Zabo-Isiklar 91 4 pts
10. Gian Maria Gabbiani (ITA)/Luca Nicolini (ITA) FA.RO.ACCiAI 23 3 pts
For further information:
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).