It was high drama for the Dubai based Victory Team at the third round of the World Class I (16 litre) Offshore Championship in Arendal, Norway, on July 19.

It was high drama for the Dubai based Victory Team at the third round of the World Class I (16 litre) Offshore Championship in Arendal, Norway, on July 19.

The seven lap race in a Norweigian fjord was dominated in its early stages by Italian hopeful Edoardo Polli and his defending world champion crew, Laith Pharaon from Saudi Arabia, driving Bilboa (Aurantium/Seatek). It looked as if he would pick up his first success since winning the Emirates GP, the final round in Dubai last year, but engine problems plagued Polli yet again forcing him to retire on the penultimate lap.

Victory 7 (Victory/Lamborghini) driven by Ali Nasser and American Randy Scism immediately filled the vacant slot setting an average to the line of 100.33mph (161.47kph) and collect 20 winning points. Last year’s Arendal winners, Italians Massimo Lippi and Lamberto Leoni driving Jolly Motor (Tencara/Lamborghini), finished just under two minutes later with pre-race favourite Spirit of Norway (Tencara/Lamborghini) driven by Norweigian Bjorn Gjelsten and Britain’s Steve Curtis third.

The drama unfolded in the final lap when Saeed Al Tayer and Felix Serralles escaped serious injury after the fuel tanks in Victory 5 (Victory/Lamborghini) exploded through the foredeck. The engine compartment also burst into flames forcing the crew to jump for their lives. They were quickly picked up from the sea by a rescue helicopter as Victory 5 burnt to the waterline and sank.

Although the race win went to Victory 7 the championship lead still remains firmly with Spirit of Norway. ‘We lost a gear which also cut the engine on the second lap’, explained Bjorn Gjelsten. ‘We got going again but with two gears it was a big handicap.’ But I’m still pleased with third. It keeps us in the points and maintains our place at the head of the table.

World Class I (16 litre) Offshore Championship. Round 3. Arendal, Norway.

Results:

1. Victory 7 A.Nasser/R.Scism (UAE/USA) Victory/Lamborghini 20pts

2. Jolly Motor M.Lippi/L.Leoni (It) Tencara/Lamborghini 15pts

3. Spirit of Norway B.Gjelsten/S.Curtis (Nor/GB) Tencara/Lamborghini 12pts

Championship positions after three rounds:

1 B.Gjelsten (Nor) 52pts. 2 A.Nasser (UAE) 39pts. 3 S.Al Tayer (UAE) 34pts

4 M.Lippi (It) 30pts. 5 K.Harib (UAE) 27pts. 6 B.Barry-Cotter (Australia) 7pts.