Victory 77's Mohammed Al Marri and Jean Marc Sanchez completed a brilliant double in Plymouth over the weekend
Victory 77’s Mohammed Al Marri and Jean Marc Sanchez completed a brilliant double in Plymouth over the weekend setting the fastest speed in the pre-race ‘pole’ contest before winning a dramatic Honda British Grand prix.
The result puts their title challenge back on course by jumping from fourth to second place in the championship standings. Qatar 95 finished second with third place giving Victory 7’s Nadir Bin Hendi and Ahmed Al Suwaidi their first podium.
It was an incident packed race which saw Qatar 96 – second in the championship before the race – retire on the second lap. Championship leader Spirit of Norway dropped from third to seventh after returning to the pits to replace a broken propeller with Chris Parsonage and James Sheppard aboard King of Shaves capsizing during lap eight.
Qatar 96 produced a blistering start to lead the from the flag, with Victory 77 chasing behind ahead of Spirit of Norway and King of Shaves, but it was to be short lived challenge after Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini were forced to retire with a broken supercharger drive belt. Victory 77 then took the lead, chased by King of Shaves. It was while Spirit of Norway was completing its first long pit lap that Qatar 95 moved up to third place ahead of Jotun positions the leaders maintained until the sixth lap. Meanwhile Spirit of Norway headed for the pits to change a propeller.
It was as they were trying to catch Qatar 95 that Parsonage and Sheppard rolled King of Shaves. By now Victory 7 was in second place ahead of Qatar 95. Foresti&Suardi -Roscioli Hotels lay fourth with Jotun fifth and Ceramiche Flaminia, enjoying its best ever performance, sixth. SeveneleveN held seventh slot with Spirit of Norway, now back in the race, eighth.
When the green flag signalled the restart following the recovery of Al Marri and Sanchez first had to fight off a challenge from their team-mates and with the race reduced to 15 laps, also hold off second placed Qatar 95 for two laps before crossing the line to score their first win of the season.
“Victory is back – it was a fantastic race but a little hectic when we were behind the pace boat,” said Jean Marc Sanchez. “Although 96 was faster at the start we were confident we could catch them on the outside leg but then they had a problem. I think we had the perfect set-up today – it’s a great result for the team with both boats on the podium.”
Victory 77 are now just ten points behind Spirit of Norway in the World Championship standings but the Plymouth win puts them into first place in the European Championship with the next race in Slovenia on 3 September.
1. Victory 77 – Al Marri (UAE)/Sanchez (FR) 00.59.53,42
2. Qatar 95 – Al Sulaiti (QAT)/Di Biase (ITA) 01.00.03,31
3. Victory 7 – Hendi (UAE)/Al Suwaidi (UAE) 01.00.12,89
4. Foresti & Suardi-Roscioli Hotels – Montavoci (ITA)/Cirilli (ESP) 01.00.48,76
5. Jotun – Tandberg (NOR)/Zaborowski (NOR) 01.00.05,92
6. Ceramiche Flaminia – Chillocci (ITA)/Lepppala (FIN) 01.01.09,79
7. Spirit of Norway – Gjelsten (NOR)/Curtis (GB) 01.00.21,34
8. SeveneleveN – Giorgi (ITA)/Nilsen (NOR) 01.02.09,82
King of Shaves – Parsonage (GB)/Sheppard (GB) DNF
Qatar 96 – Al Thani (QAT)/Nicolini (ITA) DNF
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS – after 5 rounds
1. Spirit of Norway – Gjelsten (NOR)/Curtis (GB) 72pts
2. Victory 77 – Al Marri (UAE)/Sanchez (FR) 62pts
3. Jotun – Tandberg (NOR)/Zaborowski (NOR) 59pts
4. Qatar 95 – Al Sulaiti (QAT)/Di Biase (ITA) 55pts
5. Qatar 96 – Al Thani (QAT)/Nicolini (ITA) 51pts
6. Foresti & Suardi-Roscioli Hotels – Montavoci (ITA)/Cirilli (ESP) 44pts
7. Victory 7 – Hendi (UAE)/Al Suwaidi (UAE) 43pts
8. Ceramiche Flaminia – Chillocci (ITA)/Esperto (ITA) 23pts
9. King of Shaves – Parsonage (GB)/Sheppard (GB) 22pts
10. SeveneleveN – Giorgi (ITA)/Nilsen (NOR) 12pts
(Championship points include bonus points allocated to teams for running engines for two consecutive races – one point, per engine, per race).