Dubai: Victory Team have signalled their desire for another world title, after claiming their fifth podium finish in as many races, at Great Lakes Grand Prix in Michigan City.
Not managing a quick start proved to be the early hiccup for the UAE-based team, in the 2019 APBA Offshore Championship Series held in the early hours of Monday in Indiana.
The Victory Team pairing of Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali struggled to find pace on 222 Offshore and Miss Geico.
Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson took the win with a strong finish, ahead of Steve Curtis and Miles Jennings in Miss Geico, to leave it all for the sixth and final round of the championship in Fort Myers in the first half of October.
“It’s all wide open now with the boat winning the final round taking the honours,” Huraiz Bin Huraiz, chairman of Victory Team’s board of directors, told Gulf News from Michigan City.
“This was a good race as it was a true test for all the teams. We had our issues and we managed to handle these so that we could bring the boat in for yet another podium spot and get vital points. We are now in second place overall behind 222 Offshore, and Miss Geico is in third not far behind. The final round will be the deciding factor and we will be there as competitive as ever,” he added.
After five rounds, the Victory Team pairing has been one of the standout performers with two wins — the same as 222 Offshore.
Miss Geico, who won the opening round on Cocoa Beach, are also in the mix in third overall.
Last week’s outright win in St Clair had given the Victory Team a slender lead at the top of the overall standings ahead of their two closest challengers.
On Sunday, Victory Team gave it their all only to see Carpitella and Nicholson take the first place in 222 Offshore, while multiple world champions Curtis and Jennings came in second with Miss Geico in unpredictable conditions on the Washington Park Beach area in Michigan City, Indiana.
“We didn’t have the speed we wanted and nothing seemed to go our way. That put us on the defensive right from the start,” Victory Team’s driver Al Adidi admitted.
“It’s disappointing to end in third place, but we know that we can be competitive against anyone out there. We have proved this during the earlier rounds in St Clair and Sarasota. Perhaps, it was not our day. Now we have the final round in Fort Myers where we hope to be at the top,” he added.
Throttleman Al Ali sounded optimistic despite the third place in Michigan City. “No doubt, we struggled to keep up with the boat and the conditions,” Al Ali said.
“The team tried for the best set-up and we tried our best on the water, but somehow we just couldn’t stay up with the top two. So we thought it would be wise to bring the boat in third place just for the points and stay within striking distance of 222 Offshore and Miss Geico,” he added.
The 2019 APBA Offshore Championship Series will conclude with the sixth and final race in Fort Myers from October 12-14.