The Dubai based Victory Team added yet another world Class I title to their impressive score
The Dubai based Victory Team added yet another world Class I title to their impressive score when their two-boat team filled first and second finishing slots in the Dubai Grand Prix on November 2.
The rough sea conditions on local waters made it a two boat race with Saeed Al Tayer and Mohammed Al Marri narrowly winning the race and clinching the 2001 world title. It was a closely fought duel which had thousands of spectators on their toes as the pair diced bow to bow throughout the 13 lap, 89.5 mile contest.
The result was almost a foregone conclusion. The superiority of the Victory Team during the season was reflected in their huge points lead before the event. Despite their close rival, Spirit of Norway, driven by Norwegian Bjorn Gjelsten and Britain’s Steve Curtis, winning the penultimate round in Fujairah seven days earlier, it would have been impossible to avert the outcome.
Even if both Victory Team boats had broken down and retired with the Anglo/Norwegian pairing winning, Victory would have still taken the championship by a healthy margin of ten points. However the real contest was within Victory camp itself for whoever won in Dubai would be the new champion(s) Ali Nasser with Ali Al Qama in Victory 1 stormed into the lead and for ten laps held off the challenge of Saeed Al Tayer and Mohammed Al Marri in Victory 7.
It was on the 11th lap that Saeed Al Tayer saw the opening he had been waiting for and throttled Victory 7 passed Ali Nasser’s Victory 1. He stayed ahead for the final two laps to return a winning time of 59mins 36 seconds representing an average speed of 90.36mph.
“This is the greatest thing I’ve achieved since I began racing. It’s really a very sweet victory not just for us, but for the whole Victory team,” said a jubilant Al Tayer.
The battle for third place was fought out between Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis in Spirit Of Norway and fellow Norwegians Andreas Ugland Jann Hillestad in the diesel powered Jotun. While Spirit was ahead at the start Jotun went into, and held, third position on lap three to add a second Podium place to their earlier success in the pre-race Time Trials.
A fourth for Gjelsten and Curtis in Spirit Of Norway was sufficient to secure them third in the overall Championship. As Bjorn Gjelsten said later: “We went for third place in the Championship today and secured our objective. It was one of the roughest races that we’ve experienced so we didn’t take any risks as we didn’t want to break the boat. We’ll be back next year and hopefully catch the Victory boys much earlier in the season, ” he concluded.
2001 World Class I (16 litres) Offshore Championship
Final points standings:1. S.Al Tayer/M.Al Marri (UEA) – 119pts2. Ali Nasser/Ali Al Qama (UAE) – 112pts3. B.Gjelsten/S.Curtis (Nor/GB) – 76pts4. E.Kirkedelen/M.Lippi (Nor/Ita) – 64pts5. A.Ugland/J.Hillestad (Nor) – 47pts6. K.Tzanov/V.Polli (UAE/Ita) – 42pts7. G.Montavoci/M.Capoferri (Ita) – 24pts8=. M.Nicolini/K.Thorne (Ita/GB) – 22pts8=. R.Biancalana/C.Dionisio (Ita/Monaco) – 22pts10. G.Giorgi/N.Giorgi (Ita) – 11pts11. P.Benhamou/J-M. Bisutti (Fra) – 10pts12. G.Bulgarini/G.Campolucci (Ita) 5pts13. E.Polli/T.Polli (Ita) – 3pts