Surprise result gives crew its first success of the season
The Class 1 offshore season came to an end over the weekend with Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini driving Qatar 95 stunned newly crowned World Champions Mohammed Al Marri and Nadir Bin Hendi, at the Emirates & Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix to take their first win of the season.
Qatar 95 was able to catch and overtake both Victory boats within one and a half laps.
“It was important that we ended the season with something to show for all our efforts,” said Al-Sulaiti. “We expected it to be rough and the conditions really suited us and the boat.”
The crew of Victory 1, which led from the flag, had to watch as both Qatar boats and then Jotun passed, but had the reliability to finish second and complete a highly successful year, ending the season as World, Middle East and Edox Pole Position Champions, and remain the team to beat in 2009.
Abdullah Al Mehairbi and Jean-Marc Sanchez in Victory 7, started well but had to settle for third place but with a podium place yet again.
For the third successive race in a row Qatar 96 was forced to retire from a leading position. A damaged propeller on lap four ended hopes of ending the season with a win, rounding off another frustrating race to cap a highly disappointing year for Sheikh Hassan and Britain’s Steve Curtis.
There was also huge frustration for Jotun’s Jorn Tanberg and Inge Brigt Aarbakke, who, after moving from fifth place to second slot, saw any hopes of winning disappear after losing a propeller.
Foresti & Suardi enjoyed a race-long fight with Negotiator, and held it off to take fifth place and finish the season with their highest-ever points tally, with the new pairing of Ahmed Al Suwaidi and Nicola Giorgi coming home in seventh ahead of Spirit of Spain.
Emirates & Dubai Duty Free Grand Prix
1. Qatar 95 – A Al-Sulaiti (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA)
2. Victory 1 – M Al Marri (UAE) / N Bin Hendi (UAE)
3. Victory 7 – A Al Mehairbi (UAE) / JM Sanchez (FR)
4. Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 – S Carrasco (ESP) / G Carpitella (ITA)
5. Foresti & Suardi 8 – K Selmer (NOR) / G Montavoci (ITA)
6. Negotiator 50 – C Parsonage (GB) / W Moore (US)
7. Giorgioffshore 18 – A Al Suwaidi (UAE) / N Giorgi (ITA)
8. Spirit of Spain 60 M A Ahmed (ESP) / Christian Rivolta (ITA)
9. Jotun 90 – IB Aarbakke (NOR) / J Tandberg (NOR)
Maritimo 11 – T Barry-Cotter (AUS) / PV Nilsen (NOR) – dnf
Qatar 96 – H Al-Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (GB) – dnf
1. Victory 1 – 144pts 2 Victory 7 – 121pts 3. Qatar 95 – 105pts 4 Qatar 96 – 75pts 5. Jotun 90 – 70pts 6. Foresti & Suardi 8 – 66pts 7. Giorgioffshore 18 – 32pts 8. Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 – 28pts 9. Negotiator 50 – 25pts 10. Spirit of Spain – 60 7pts