Leading UAE team wins second race in Qatar
Team Abu Dhabi made it a one-two celebration for the United Arab Emirates, taking their second podium of the weekend.
Thursday’s race winners, Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani and Steve Curtis, came in third in Spirit of Qatar 96.
The result puts Victory and Spirit of Qatar 96 joint top of the championship on 32 points, with Team Abu Dhabi two points behind in third.
The race at the start saw pole-sitters Spirit of Qatar 96, Team Abu Dhabi and Victory 3 line abreast as they hurtled into the first turn.
But it was Italian ex-world Formula 1 circuit champion, Guido Cappellini, and Class 1 debutant Gian Maria Gabbiani aboard Poliform who took lead at the end of the opening lap thanks to a burst of speed.
Cappellini and Gabbiani, who failed to make the first race before sitting out the next two practice sessions due to engine trouble, built a four-second lead before a technical problem forced them to slow and finally retire on the sixth lap.
“We are not exactly sure what the problem was but there was a lot of oil in the engine bay,” said Cappellini.
“We had a great start considering this was our first time on the race circuit. It was a big surprise.”
With Poliform out, Victory Team were able to control the race, going on to win the 11-lap, 66.54nm event in 39mins, 13.68s – over 15 seconds ahead of the rest.
“This is our answer to what happened in the first race,” said Victory Team’s Arif Saif Al Zafeen.
“It was a good fight with Cappellini at the beginning, but once out in front we were in complete control.”
Behind the race leaders, Team Abu Dhabi and the Spirit of Qatar 96 raced line astern, before Team Abu Dhabi pulled out to a comfortable 11-second gap over Spirit of Qatar 96.
“It was absolutely flat calm out there and we bogged down at the start,” said a disappointed Steve Curtis.
“I wasn’t surprised to see Guido come across. He’s got a very fast boat and with the extra 250rpm the supercharged engines he has been given he was always going to be up there.”