Bard Eker from Norway and Britain's Steve Curtis are tantalisingly close to lifting the 2005 Class 1 world offshore title after taking their fourth win of the season in the Mina Seyahi Grand Prix in Dubai on Friday.
Bard Eker from Norway and Britain’s Steve Curtis are tantalisingly close to lifting the 2005 Class 1 world offshore title after taking their fourth win of the season in the Mina Seyahi Grand Prix in Dubai on Friday. They now lead the overall championship standings by 17.5 points with one race to go.
It was a convincing win after Spirit of Norway led from start to finish, completing the 91Nm, 18 lap course in 53mins 46.19secs so averaging 115.59mph/185.99kmh.
“We got a great start and were able to open up a comfortable lead. We waited until Qatar took its long lap before going for ours, knowing we would get back out in front”, said Bard Eker. “It was pretty comfortable but mid race we felt a small vibration and thought we may have a problem but it was OK in the end”.
Behind Spirit of Norway the battle for the remaining podium places was fought out between their title rivals, Qatar 96 and Victory 77 with Abdullah Al Sulaiti and Matteo Nicolini holding off Victory 77 to take second place.
“It was an excellent race for us”, said Sulaiti, deputising for injured team principal Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani. “We had a good start to move into second spot and managed to hold off Victory although they were getting very close. And then on the final lap both engines shut down. I looked behind and saw 77 right on us but luckily Matteo managed to get the engines re-started”.
Third place for Al Marri and Sanchez – despite being plagued by engine problems from the start – was just enough to keep them in the title hunt “There were problems throughout. We nailed it at the start but the left engine wouldn’t pull and the problem stayed with us”, commented Sanchez, who knows that it will now take a mechanical disaster to prevent Eker from lifting his first World Championship and Curtis his seventh.
Giampaolo Montavoci and Domenico Cirilli produced by far their best performance of the season to bring GFN GFibellato home in fourth ahead of Negotiator and Victory 7 and moves them into fifth equal in the championship standings.
Ceramiche Flaminia finished seventh ahead of Roscioli Hotels with Jotun forced out on lap six after lying in third place.
With the Pole Position Championship already wrapped up, Eker and Curtis now turn their attentions to the last race of the season, the Dubai Grand Prix on Friday, 9 December. They already have one hand on the world title but will take nothing for granted, knowing that one slip could let in Victory 77.
Mina Seyahi Grand Prix – result (round 6 of 7):
1 Spirit of Norway – Eker/Curtis 20pts
2 Qatar 96 – Al Sulaiti/Nicolini 15pts
3 Victory 77 – Al Marri/Sanchez 12pts
4 GFN Gibellato – Montavoci/Cirilli 9pts
5 Negotiator – Parsonage/Scism 7pts
6 Victory 7 – Hindi/Al Marri 5pts
7 Ceramiche Flaminia – Chillocci/Tzanov 4pts
8 Roscioli Hotels – Giorgi/Polli 3pts
9 Jotun – Tandberg/Zaborowski DNF
Qatar 95 – Al Sulaiti/Di Biase DNS
Overall Championship Positions (inc bonus points):
1 Spirit of Norway – Eker/Curtis 101pts
2 Victory 77 – Al Marri/Sanchez 82.5pts
3 Qatar 96 – Al Thani/Nicolini 77pts
4 Negotiator – Parsonage/Scism 56pts
5= Qatar 95 – Al Sulaiti/Di Biase 34pts
5=GFN Gibellato – Montavoci/Cirilli 34pts
7 Jotun – Tandberg/Zaborowski 27pts
8 Victory 7 – Hindi/Al Marri 24.5pts
9 Maritimo – Barry-Cotter/McGrath 17pts
10 Ceramiche Flaminia – Chillocci/Tzanov 13pts
11Roscioli Hotels – Giorgi/Polli 12pts