Spirit tops TT in Dubai

Spirit of Norway has won the Dubai Time Trials, securing the 2001 Time Trials Championship in the process

Spirit of Norway’s Bjorn Gjelsten and Steve Curtis have won the Time Trials event in Dubai, UAE, and have wrapped up the 2001 Time Trials Championship in the process. Racing on borderline condition two-metre seas, they beat Jotun into second place with Victory 1 in third with a time of 02:23mins 85secs.

Curtis, Britain’s three-times World Offshore Champion throttleman, said: “We got a good run in on the first lap and then just sat out there – which was pretty rough – and waited for the Victory boats. We had no idea about Jotun but it’s a great result for them come in with us today.”

Jotun’s result was a triumph in itself – for two teams. Andreas Ugland’s Norwegian entry blew her port engine during Friday’s final race at Fujairah and the resulting fire destroyed much of the boat’s port quarter. Engineers estimated the damage would take about a month to put right.

Undaunted, the Dubai-based Victory syndicate generously took Jotun into their yard and the race against time began. The Time Trials were scheduled to begin at 2.30 today, 1 November. A restored Jotun arrived in the pits at 3.15, was afloat by 3.30 and managed to rocket round the track second-fastest (02:23mins 96secs) by the end of the trials at 3.45.

All this activity might have prevented the Victory team carrying out essential maintenance on their boats. When an instrument problem forced Victory 1 to retire after only two runs, Ali Nasser and Ali Al-Qama had recorded a fastest lap time of 02:24mins 12 secs – third fastest. The problem-free but off-the-pace stablemate Victory 7 followed to take fourth.

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The Victory team is already assured of the 2001 World Offshore Championship and they will be hoping to crown their achievement tomorrow with a win in the final grand prix race of the 2001 season in front of their home crowd in Dubai.


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