Gjelsten and Curtis set fastest speed qualifying for today's (Sat) Mina Seyahi GP

Spirit of Norway‘s Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis achieved their sixth consecutive success in the Edox pole championship in Dubai on Friday after posting a time of 3min 05.06secs for the 4.4Nm circuit.

“Being the first boat to practice was the right decision but our set-up wasn’t perfect and we didn’t actually have a great lap although we obviously did better than the others.” said Steve Curtis.

Norwegians Jorn Tandberg and Christian Zaborowski produced their best qualifying performance of the season to take second place with 3min 06.68secs, with Abdullah Al-Sulaiti and Luca Nicolini aboard Qatar 95, also producing their best outing, coming third fastest with a time of 3min 07.70secs.

For Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini in Qatar 96, fourth fastest on the day may not have been the result they were looking for, knowing that they must go for the win in today’s Mina Seyahi Grand Prix. They are however where they need to be, ahead of title rival and championship leaders Victory 77. After suffering minor technical problems Victory 77 will start from sixth position, with Chris Parsonage and Bard Eker driving Negotiator between them and Qatar 96, after producing its best qualifying performance.

Spirit of Norway‘s outing early in the session proved decisive as the strong winds and rough seas later increased, making its time of 3min 05.06secs unbeatable. Spirit of Norway 20, Victory 77 and Fainplast‘s new pairing of Kolbjorn Selmer and Giovanni Carpitella were next out but all failed beat the 3min 15.95secs set by Victory 77.

The first real threat to Spirit of Norway came from Jotun with 3min 06.68secs on their opener, missing out by less than two seconds to go second fastest, ahead of Victory 77. Negotiator‘s opening gambit, 3min 18.09secs fell short but put them into fourth spot, only to see its time immediately bettered by Qatar 95 with 3min 07.70secs, and then by team-mates Qatar 96,with 3min 13.96secs both moving ahead of Victory 77.

The championship leaders, Victory 77, line up for today’s Mina Seyahi Grand Prix in sixth place but with a 22-point lead. The crew know that if they can get ahead of their title rivals Qatar 96 the world championship is theirs. But if Qatar 96 stays ahead and finishes with several boats between themselves and Victory 77, the championship will hinge on a nerve-tingling final race of the season in Dubai next week.

EDOX POLE POSITION – round six

1. Spirit of Norway 10 – B Gjelsten (NOR)/S Curtis (GB) – 3m 05.06s

2. Jotun 90 – C Zaborowski (NOR)/J Tandberg (NOR) – 3m 06.68s

3. Qatar 95 – A Al Sulaiti (QAT)/L Nicolini (ITA) – 3m 07.70s

4. Qatar 96 – H Al Thani (QAT)/M Nicolini (ITA) – 3m 08.98s

5. Negotiator 50 – B Eker (NOR)/C Parsonage (GB) – 3m 15.29s

6. Victory 77 – A Al Zafeen(UAE)/JM Sanchez (FR) – 3m 15.95s

7. Victory 7 – T Al Sayed (UAE)/N Hendi (UAE) – 3m 19.73s

8. Spirit of Norway 20 – T Barry-Cotter (AUS)/P Nilsen (NOR) – 3m 21.07s

9. Fainplast 2 – K Selmer (NOR)/G Carpitella (ITA) – 3m 40.67s

10. SeveneleveN 18 – T Polli (ITA)/N Giorgi (ITA) – 3m 50.45s

Foresti & Suardi 8 – M Pennesi (ITA)/G Montavoci (ITA) – DNS

EDOX POLE POSITION CHAMPIONSHIP – after round six of seven rounds

1. Spirit of Norway 10 – B Gjelsten (NOR)/S Curtis (GB) – 120pts

2. Victory 77 – A Al Zafeen(UAE)/JM Sanchez (FR) – 63pts

3. Qatar 96 – H Al Thani (QAT)/M Nicolini (ITA) – 61pts

4. Jotun 90 – C Zaborowski (NOR)/J Tandberg (NOR) 58pts

5. Victory 7 – A Al Sayed (UAE)/N Hendi (UAE) – 53pts

6. Qatar 95 – A Al Sulaiti (QAT)/L Nicolini (ITA) – 41pts

7. Spirit of Norway 20 – T Barry-Cotter (AUS)/P Nilsen (NOR) – 21pts

8. Foresti & Suardi 8 – M Pennesi (ITA)/G Montavoci (ITA) – 20pts

9. Negotiator 50 – B Eker (NOR)/C Parsonage (GB) – 19pts

10. SeveneleveN 18 – T Polli (ITA)/N Giorgi (ITA) – 7pts

11. Fainplast 2 – K Selmer (NOR)/G Carpitella (ITA) – 4pts