Spirit of Norway re-established its championship challenge after last weekend's race retirement, with Bard Eker and Steve Curtis taking their second win of the season at the Chess Scandinavian Grand Prix on August 14.
Spirit of Norway re-established its championship challenge after last weekend’s race retirement, with Bard Eker and Steve Curtis taking their second win of the season at the Chess Scandinavian Grand Prix on August 14. Second place was filled by Nadir Bin Hindi and Rashid Al Marri in Victory 7 with Jotun’s all Norwegian pairing also taking their first podium place with third spot.
Despite finishing a disappointing fourth, Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Matteo Nicolini picked up nine points, enough to give Qatar 96 their first major trophy in Class 1, the European Championship.
“It is a great feeling to win the European Championship, but I feel a little disappointed that we could not win the Grand Prix,” admitted Sheikh Hassan. “I probably made the worst start to a race ever in my three and a half year racing career. The propeller angle was wrong and we just languished at the start and there was no way to make up the time. But we did enough to win the championship and that is a nice feeling.”
Eker and Curtis produced their now customary explosive start to lead from the flag, and once out front were able to control the 18-lap, 91.48nm race with ease, despite nervous moments in the latter stages when they repeatedly lost power from one of their engines going into the corners.
“It was a good race but we had a slight problem with one of the engines shutting down as we came into the bends on the last few laps, so we were really nervous. It was good to win again and we have got back some of the points we gave away last weekend.” said Steve Curtis with Bard Eker adding. “Because of the engine problem we had to keep going wide on the corners with Steve having to keep the revs up. We’ve had a few problems this weekend so I was a little nervous before the start of the race, but we got the result we needed.”
For Victory 7’s Nadir Bin Hindi and Rashid Al Marri, it was the day the new partnership with just two races under its belt earned their Class 1 credentials, with a brilliant performance to take a comfortable second.
“Second was fantastic for us but as a racer you always want to win,” said Nadir Bin Hindi. “We are growing in confidence, gaining experience race by race and the partnership between me and Rashid is getting better all the time.”
Completing the top three and wrapping up a successful weekend for Class 1 newcomers were Jorn Tandberg and Christian Zaborowski, bringing the Mercury powered Jotun home in third place for their first race podium.
“The boat was feeling really heavy right from the start and she really didn’t loosen up until halfway through the race. Jorn and I are improving each time we go out and so is the boat. I think we need to find some more speed but that will come. But of course we are very happy with this result.”
For Victory 77’s Mohammed Al Marri and Jean Marc Sanchez, a broken propeller on the last lap snatched a certain podium finish from their grasp – a bitter blow after clawing their way back from fifth to third place and as they were closing in on their team-mates, but eventually finishing seventh.
Negotiator finished fifth, ahead of Maritimo, and GFN Gibellato eighth.
The result puts Eker and Curtis up to second place in the championship standings, three points behind Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini on 47 points with Victory 77 and Negotiator tied in third place with 31 points.
Chess Scandinavian Grand Prix – results
1 Spirit of Norway – Eker/Curtis 20pts
2 Victory 7 – Bin Hindi/R Al Marri 15pts
3 Jotun – Tandberg/Zaborowski 12pts
4 Qatar 96 – Al Thani/Nicolini 9pts
5 Negotiator – Parsonage/Scism 7pts
6 Maritimo – Barry-Cotter/McGrath 5pts
7 Victory 77 – M Al Marri/Sanchez 4pts
8 GFN Gibellato – Montavoci/Cirilli 3pts
Roscioli Hotels – Giorgi/Nilsen DNS
Qatar 95 – Al Sulaiti/Di Biase DNS
Overall Championship Positions
1 Al Thani/Nicolini 47pts
2 Eker/Curtis 43pts
3=M Al Marri/Sanchez 31pts
5 Bin Hindi/R Al Marri 18pts
8 Montavoci/Cirilli 13pts
9 Al Sulaiti/Di Biase 7pts