Regardless of their performance in the final round on Thursday, December 9, Norweigian Bjorn Gjelsten and Britain's Steve Curtis driving Spirit of Norway clinched their fourth consecutive UIM Class 1 Pole Position Championship in Dubai on December 7.
Regardless of their performance in the final round on Thursday, December 9, Norweigian Bjorn Gjelsten and Britain’s Steve Curtis driving Spirit of Norway clinched their fourth consecutive UIM Class 1 Pole Position Championship in Dubai on December 7. Their title was confirmed after setting the fastest time in the Palm Speed Record contest.
Second fastest were Mohammed Al Marri and Jean Marc Sanchez in Victory 77 with Hassan Al Thani and Matteo Nicolini coming home third in Qatar 96.
Running last of the eight boats contesting the inaugural Palm Speed Record, that replaced the postponed Pole Position from the Qatar Grand Prix, Gjelsten and Curtis knew their target speed and duly clocked a time of 2mins 21.30sec around the 3.79Nm course on their first run.
Second place for Al Marri and Sanchez, just over two seconds off Spirit of Norway, moves them up to second place in the Pole Championship ahead of teammates Ali Nasser and Ali Al Qama who withdrew from the contest with Al Qama suffering an ear infection affecting his balance.
After seeing his teammates move ahead of them Al Qama said. “It’s disappointing not to be racing today, but these things happen and I needed to rest. We must now look forward to the final rounds on Thursday and Friday and we aim to be ready.” Maintaining fourth place overall and taking third were Hassan Al Thani and Matteo Nicolini in Qatar 96.
“Our set up was OK but I thought the course was tight inside the Palm. We pushed a little on the first run and basically did what we had to do.”
Edoardo Polli and Lamberto Leoni produced their best run since switching to the Mercury engines, finishing in fourth ahead of Bellmann and Hillestad in Jotun, with Giampaolo Montavoci and Domenico Cirilli producing their best of the year to take sixth. Seventh went to Al Tayer and Al Marri in Victory 4 with Nicola Giorgi and Mauro Esperto in Roscioli Hotels eighth.
After wrapping up the title, with one Pole Position to go on Thursday, Gjelsten praised his team.
“Four in a row has never been done so it’s a little bit of history,” he said. “These results are down to the whole team and I also think we were able to achieve it because Steve and I have been together for so long and because we know each other so well.” But know the attention switches to the Emirates Airline and Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Grand Prix on Friday, 10 December where Gjelsten and Curtis will be going for their third consecutive world title and Ali Nasser and Ali Al Qama will be out to stop them. The Palm Speed Record – result (counting towards Pole Position Championship)
1. Spirit of Norway – Gjelsten/Curtis 20pts 2. Victory 77 – Al Marri/Sanchez 15pts 3. Qatar 96 – Al-Thani/Nicolini 12pts 4. Highlander – Polli/Leoni – not racing for pts 5. Jotun – Bellmann/Hillestad 9pts 6. GFN Gibellato – Montavoci/Cirilli – 7pts 7. Victory 4 – Al Tayer/Al Marri – not racing for pts
8. Roscioli Hotels – Giorgi/Esperto 5pts
Victory 7 – Nasser/Al Qama Retired Hydrolift – Eker/Brkovic Non-starter Negotiator – Parsonage/McGrath Non-starter
Final Pole Position Championship – after seven rounds
1. Spirit of Norway – Gjelsten/Curtis 135pts 2. Victory 77 – Al Marri/Sanchez 84pts 3. Victory 7 – Nasser/Al Qama 78pts 4. Qatar – Al-Thani/Nicolini 62pts
5. Jotun – Bellmann/Hillestad 58pts 6. Negotiator – Parsonage/McGrath 26pts 7. Roscioli Hotels – Giorgi/Esperto 25pts 8.GFN Gibellato – Montavoci/Cirilli 24pts 9. Highlander – Polli/Corti 13pts 10. Hydrolift – Eker/Jacobsen 12pts