Curtis and Gjelsten fastest for fifth time
Spirit of Norway‘s Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis maintained their perfect record in qualifying on Friday to win their fifth Pole of the season and clinch the Edox Pole World Championship, the Norwegian teams seventh consecutive pole position title.
Going out onto the waters of Doha Bay first 75 minute qualifying session for today’s Qatar Grand Prix, Gjelsten and Curtis produced an almost perfect run on their first lap and a time that was to prove unbeatable, posting 2m 36.53s – almost four seconds quicker than Victory 7‘s Talib Al Sayed and Nadir bin Hendi, with their main title rivals Victory77 five seconds adrift fourth and Qatar 96 managing only fifth.
Producing their best time of the weekend and equalling their best qualifying result of the year was the all-Norwegian outfit Jotun, with Jorn Tandberg and Christian Zaborowski going third fastest in a time of 2m 40.43s.
With Spirit of Norway back in the pits after their stunning opening lap, Qatar 95, Jotun and Qatar 96 were the first trio out to try to unseat them, with Qatar 96 the quickest, but falling short of the provisional pole time, posting 2m 42.95s. Victory 77‘s Arif Al Zafeen and Jean Marc Sanchez’s opening lap was cut short when the championship leader’s returned to the pits with a broken propeller. Jotun went back out for their second run to set the second quickest time only to see Victory 7 post 2m 40.81s on their first lap, to drop them to third place and Qatar 96 to fourth.
Midway through the session Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini edged out Jotun to take back third spot with 2m 41.76 only to see it bettered, first by Victory 77 with 2m 41,42s and then by Jotun, jumping three place and up to second spot with their best time of 2m 40.43s on their final lap. Qatar 96‘s final run, 2m 41.07s failed to trouble the top three and with the clock counting down, both Victory boats went again. Victory 7 produced their best time, 2m 40.06s to regain second place, with Victory 77 edging out Qatar 96 to take fourth place with their best time, 2m 40.96s. Qatar 95 completed the top six.
Spirit of Norway will line up for today’s 20 lap, 93.39Nm Qatar Grand Prix, exactly where they need to be, in pole position, with the two boats currently ahead of them in the title race in fourth and fifth place on the start line. For Gjelsten and Curtis a win is the only result they can consider if they are to take the battle for the title into the final two races in Dubai.
EDOX POLE POSITION – round 5
1. Spirit of Norway 10 – B Gjelsten (NOR)/S Curtis (GB) – 2m 36.53s
2. Victory 7 – T Al Sayed (UAE)/N Hendi (UAE) – 2m 40.06s
3. Jotun 90 – C Zaborowski (NOR)/J Tandberg (NOR) – 2m 40.43s
4. Victory 77 – A Al Zafeen (UAE)/JM Sanchez (FR) – 2m 40.96s
5. Qatar 96 – H Al Thani (QAT)/M Nicolini (ITA) – 2m 41.07s
6. Qatar 95 – A Al Sulaiti (QAT)/L Nicolini (ITA) – 2m 48.04s
7. Negotiator 50 – B Eker (NOR)/C Parsonage (GB) – 2m 50.35s
8. Spirit of Norway 20 – T Barry-Cotter (AUS)/P Nilsen (NOR) – 2m 51.35s
9. Foresti & Suardi 8 – K Selmer (NOR)/G Montavoci (ITA) – 3m 02.25s
10. SeveneleveN 18 – T Polli (ITA)/N Giorgi (ITA) – 3m 15.76s
EDOX POLE POSITION CHAMPIONSHIP – after round 5 of 7
1. Spirit of Norway 10 – B Gjelsten (NOR)/S Curtis (GB) – 100pts
2. Victory 77 – A Al Zafeen (UAE)/JM Sanchez (FR) – 58pts
3. Qatar 96 – H Al Thani (QAT)/M Nicolini (ITA) – 52pts
4. Victory 7 – A Al Sayed (UAE)/N Hendi (UAE) – 49pts
5. Jotun 90 – C Zaborowski (NOR)/J Tandberg (NOR) 43pts
6. Qatar 95 – A Al Sulaiti (QAT)/L Nicolini (ITA) – 29pts
7. Foresti & Suardi 8 – M Pennesi (ITA)/G Montavoci (ITA) – 20pts
8. Spirit of Norway 20 – T Barry-Cotter (AUS)/P Nilsen (NOR) – 18pts
9. Negotiator 50 – B Eker (NOR)/C Parsonage (GB) – 12pts
10. SeveneleveN 18 – T Polli (ITA)/N Giorgi (ITA) – 6pts
11. Fainplast 2 – K Selmer (NOR)/M Esperto (It) – 2pts