Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi complete the hat trick
Fazza’s Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi (pictured) completed the hat-trick by winning the second round of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, to add to their Pole Position and race wins on Friday. Their sixth win of the season came after a frenetic start which saw all boats except Maritimo handed a penalty long-lap for jumping the start. For the third race in succession the crew of Victory 1 had to settle for second place behind their team-mates, after battling with Welmax that finished third.
Al Zafeen and Bin Hendi, who have won seven out of nine races since being paired together at the beginning of the 2008 season, did not have the race all their own way and a coming together on the start run with Victory 1 could have ended their race before it started. Despite this collision they turned the first corner in the lead and used their superior speed to pull away. They completed the 15 lap course in a winning 41mins 47.60secs, to extend their World Championship lead to eight points.
“We bumped into Victory 1 on the start run, but that is racing. Luckily we still had the advantage at the first buoy, and were able to maintain our pace to take the win,” said Bin Hendi, “It has been a very satisfying weekend, but we still need to perform in the last two races in Dubai to take the title.”
Victory 1’s Mohammad Al Mehairi and Jean-Marc Sanchez, who started the weekend at the top of the World Championship standings, could not match the pace of the race winners. After the impact with Fazza they found themselves in third place and behind Victory 7 at the first mark. But Victory 7’s gearing problems on the final corner of the first lap, allowed Al Mehairi and Sanchez to pass, but they were unable to make any impression on Fazza and had to settle for second place.
“The start was a mess with the waves of six to seven feet and then Victory 7 came from nowhere on the outside. They were really flying,” said throttleman Sanchez, “Unfortunately for them they had a problem allowing us to overtake and from then on, even though we pushed to the end of the race, we couldn’t catch Arif and Nadir.”
A sensational corner at the end of the first lap saw Welmax’s Jorn Tandberg and Kolbjorn Selmer move up from fifth place to third, overtaking Victory 7 and Sea Dubai-C.A.M in the process. A dramatic hook on the very same corner, a lap later, could have prematurely ended the race for the all-Norwegian pairing, but an exceptional piece of driving by Selmer, prevented that disaster. Having had a frustrating day on Friday the Norwegians were determined to push for second place, setting the fastest two laps of the afternoon, but after feeling a vibration during lap 11 throttleman Tandberg backed off to ensure that they completed the race and claimed a comfortable third place, finishing nearly 34 seconds ahead of Sea Dubai-C.A.M.
“We got caught up in the wake of Victory 1, which caused us to hook the boat. It has been a very good day even though we ideally wanted second place. The points give us a nice gap over Maritimo for the final races in Dubai,” said Tandberg.
A fantastic start for Victory 7’s Mohammed Al Marri and Abdullah Al Mehairbi saw them turn the first corner in second place, but the brilliant start came at a cost as they were forced to retire after only one lap with gearing problems.
Giorgioffshore’s Nicola Giorgi and Christian Zaborowski were also forced into an early retirement, when their transmission failed on lap three. Tom Barry-Cotter and Pal Virik Nilsen, Maritimo, will be keen to put the weekend behind them after another supercharger failure saw them limp around the course on one engine for four laps, before calling it a day.
A radio mix-up saw Sea Dubai-CAM.’s Ahmed Al Hameli and Giovanni Carpitella take five long-laps as opposed to the mandatory three and one penalty long-lap. In spite of this they were still able to claim a commendable fourth place, making it a fine weekend for the new pairing, who took their maiden podiums after Friday’s race moving up from eighth to sixth place in the World Championship standings.
Foresti & Suardi – Roscioli Hotels’ Giampaolo Montavoci and Roberto Lo Piano maintained their fifth place in the World Championship standings on 53 points after claiming fifth place.
The Championship now heads to Dubai for the season finale on December 10-11 and with both Fazza and Victory 1 in unassailable points positions the Victory Team has already secured its ninth Class 1 World title.
CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP – after round 5 of 6
1. Fazza – 133pts 2. Victory 1 – 125pts 3. Welmax – 76pts 4. Maritimo 11 – 56pts 5. Foresti & Suardi-Roscioli Hotels – 53pts 6. Sea Dubai-C.A.M – 44pts 7. Giorgioffshore – 43pts 8. Victory 7 – 38pts 9. Qatar 96 – 15pts 10. Maritimo 12 – 12pts 11. Qatar 95 – 4pts
(World Championship points include bonus points allocated to teams for running engines for two consecutive races – one point, per engine, per race)