Abu Dhabi: Victory 3’s Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi claimed a second successive victory at the three-race UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship on the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Thursday afternoon.
Team Abu Dhabi 6’s John Tomlinson and Gary Ballough now face an uphill battle to successfully defend the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club’s (ADIMSC) world title in the final race on Friday afternoon.
Victory 3 led from pole and pulled away from their arch rivals in a processional 13-lap race to claim maximum points, as Al-Fursan (the UAE equivalent to the British Red Arrows aerobatics team) flew a spectacular high-speed display overhead.
Team Abu Dhabi 6 finished a comfortable second and Zabo 91’s crew of Italy’s Giovanni Carpitella and England’s Ian Blacker rounded off the podium places.
Aquasport 99’s Nico Huybens and Daniel Cramphorn lined up in fourth at the start and began to drop back until they hit trouble after eight laps and took on water at the rear of the field.
Team Abu Dhabi 55, Victory 33 and Raheeb 17 took part in a trio of smaller XCATs in the first of two races to decide a new Abu Dhabi Cup. Alex Carella’s partnership with Faleh Al Mansoori paid dividends with the local crew comfortably finishing ahead of last week’s Abu Dhabi XCAT Grand Prix winners, Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali, who had technical issues near the finish in Victory 33. Raheeb’s Abdullatif Al Omani and Ahmed Al Suwaidi were third.
“This was a great result for us, especially when you consider we only started racing together in this boat on Wednesday,” said Faleh Al Mansoori. “Our laps times got quicker this morning and to beat the guys from the Victory XCAT in our first race together is special.”
The plan had been to run Team Abu Dhabi 5 for Rashid Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori in Class 1, but an engine would not run properly after the accident on Wednesday and the team ran out of time trying to get the boat to the pontoon on time.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix — Race 2
Victory 3 headed Team Abu Dhabi 6 into the second race that was fought out over 30 minutes plus one additional lap. The XCATs ran behind the Class 1 boats, were not permitted to take the short course and had to stay on an outside line. Victory 3 managed to hold the main race line into the first turn buoy and reached the end of the start lap with a lead of 11.1 seconds. Large gaps began to appear among the chasing group, while Team Abu Dhabi 55 headed Victory 33 in the battle of the XCATs from a trailing Raheeb.
Victory 3 came in short for lap two, as Team Abu Dhabi 6 stayed on the longer course and the gap widened to 40 seconds with Team Abu Dhabi 6 re-passing Zabo 91 along the grandstand straight. Both boats ran short third laps and the different was 39 seconds, with Zabo 91 going long and falling well behind the home team.
Carella and Al-Mansoori headed Victory 33 by five seconds in the XCAT battle, although they were about to be lapped by Victory 3. By lap five, Victory 3 had lapped all three XCATs and led Team Abu Dhabi 6 by 32 seconds. It was looking comfortable for the multiple World Champions.
The procession continued through laps seven and eight and Victory 3 began lap nine with a lead of 37.82 seconds and began to move into position to lap Aquasport 99. Team Abu Dhabi 55 headed Victory 33 by a handful of seconds, but Aquasport 99 slowed to a snail’s pace with technical issues and was re-lapped by Victory 3 before dropping out of the race.
There was no stopping Victory 3, however, and the Dubai crew crossed the finish line after 13 laps in a time of 34min 08.75sec to record victory over Team Abu Dhabi 6 by the margin of 40.58 seconds. Team Abu Dhabi 55 exacted revenge in the XCAT contest and secured the win over Victory 33 and Raheeb, after boat 33 stopped short of the finish.
Pole Position — Race 2
Tomlinson and Ballough ran Al-Zafeen and Bin Hendi mightily close in another pole thriller off the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Thursday morning. The defending Class 1 World Champions looked to have done enough to clinch pole when they clocked an impressive tour of 2min 44.623sec on their second lap and that was 0.051 seconds quicker than Victory 3’s reply. But the Dubai crew came back from the pontoon fresh again and a potent third lap of 2min 42.630sec — the fastest of the week so far — could not be matched by Team Abu Dhabi 6’s response of 2min 43.854sec.
Zabo 91 benefited from a replacement turbo charger and engine re-mapping and reached qualifying with far more power than it had finished the Kilo Run on Wednesday. The Anglo-Italian crew of Ian Blacker and Giovanni Carpitella ran an opener of 2min 57.731sec before returning to the pontoon to make some minor adjustments. With just seven minutes of the session remaining, they headed back into action to card a best lap of 2min 56.269sec to claim third place.
Nico Huybens and Daniel Cramphorn manage to squeeze one timed lap in at the end of the session in Aquasport 99 and started the race from fourth with a recorded time of 3min 33.929sec.
Team Abu Dhabi 5 missed qualifying after Wednesday’s practice accident, but the team managed to start the race from the rear of the field. A spokesman said: “We managed to repair some minor damage to the hull and replaced one engine. The other seemed okay, so we worked on putting the finishing touches to it for the race.”
The three XCATs were also permitted to use the qualifying session and a thrilling battle emerged between Team Abu Dhabi 55’s Faleh Al-Mansoori/Alex Carella and Victory 33’s Salem Al-Adidi/Eisa Al-Ali. The winners of the recent Abu Dhabi XCAT Grand Prix laid down the gauntlet with an early lap of 3min 04.229sec, but the ever-improving Al-Mansoori/Carella found a rhythm and a good pace to card a pole-winning lap of 3min 03.525sec.
Victory 33 ran numerous other laps to try and wrest the advantage from the host team’s clutches but had to settle for second with a best lap of 3min 03.687sec. Raheeb 17 was third in a best time of 3min 15.072sec. “Alex and I have been working well and we have more to give yet, we can be faster,” said Faleh Al Mansoori.
Admission is free for spectators on Friday and a food court and entertainment are in situ, adjacent to the pit area, on the Abu Dhabi Breakwater. Class 1 race action gets underway at 3.30pm, although teams will carry out pole position qualifying at 10.30am.
2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship — Race 2 result (Thursday):
1. Victory 3 — Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) 34min 08.75sec
2. Team Abu Dhabi 6 — John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA) @ 40.58sec
3. Zabo 91 — Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR) @ 1min 58.15sec
4. Aquasport 99 — Nick Huybens (BEL)/Daniel Cramphorn (GBR) L2
Team Abu Dhabi 5 — Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) DNS
1. Team Abu Dhabi 55 — Alex Carella (UAE)/Faleh Al-Mansoori (UAE) L1 20pts
2. Victory 33 — Salem Al-Adidi (UAE)/Eisa Al-Ali (UAE) L1 15pts
3. Raheeb 17 — Abdullatif Al-Omani (KWT)/Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (UAE) L2 12pts
2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship — Pole Position times (Thursday):
1. Victory 3 — Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) 2min 42.630sec
2. Team Abu Dhabi 6 — John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA) 2min 43.854sec
3. Zabo 91 — Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR) 2min 56.265sec
4. Aquasport 99 — Nick Huybens (BEL)/Daniel Cramphorn (GBR) 3min 33.929sec
Team Abu Dhabi 5 — Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) DNS
1. Team Abu Dhabi 55 — Alex Carella (UAE)/Faleh Al-Mansoori (UAE) 3min 03.525sec
2. Victory 33 — Salem Al-Adidi (UAE)/Eisa Al-Ali (UAE) 3min 03.687sec
3. Raheeb 17 — Abdullatif Al-Omani (KWT)/Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (UAE) 3min 15.072sec
2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship — latest positions:
1. Victory 3 — Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) 40pts
2. Team Abu Dhabi 6 — John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA 30pts
3. Zabo 91 — Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR) 24pts
Timetable of events
Friday, November 25
10.30-11.30 Pole Position Race 3
15.30-16.30 UIM World Championship Race 3
17.00 Prize giving on podium for pole, Race 3 and overall