Victory 77's Mohammed Al Marri and Jean Marc Sanchez produced an outstanding performance to win an enthralling, tense and exciting Qatar Grand Prix on Monday with Qatar 96 finishing in second and Spirit of Norway third.<
Victory 77’s Mohammed Al Marri and Jean Marc Sanchez produced an outstanding performance to win an enthralling, tense and exciting Qatar Grand Prix on Monday with Qatar 96 finishing in second and Spirit of Norway third.
The win, the first for Al Marri and Sanchez since teaming up in 2004, was all the more remarkable for two reasons. In Sunday’s pole position they walked away unscathed from a 145mph crash which destroyed their raceboat meaning the pair had to switch to their reserved boat Victory 7 with no time to test or adjust.
Sanchez was understandably elated at taking his first win in such circumstances. “I can’t describe how I feel – just great – especially after yesterday. This win is for the whole team and especially for all the guys who worked through the night to get both boats ready in time – it’s for them,” he said. “We made a great start and managed to hold off Spirit and from that point on it was a case of remaining focussed because we knew Qatar 96 was going to push us all the way. They made us sweat a bit at times but in the end we had the edge over them”.
Al Marri and Sanchez made a blistering start, out gunning Spirit of Norway to the first turn and then leading the race to finish, holding off a fierce challenge from Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al Thani and Matteo Nicolini in Qatar 96.
“It was a fantastic race”, said Sheikh Hassan. “It must have been thrilling for the local spectators. We had a good strategy and it very nearly paid off for us. We just couldn’t get passed but the result was just what we needed. We wanted to finish ahead of Spirit, we did that and have maintained our lead in the championship”.
Despite having to run an extra ‘long lap’ – a penalty imposed on Spirit of Norway for running over a buoy in round 3 during the last round in Trondheim – Bard Eker and Steve Curtis produced a gutsy performance to finish third. After conceding second place early on, taking both their long laps consecutively, the penalty proved a lap too far.
“Under the circumstances, having to do two long laps I am not disappointed”, said Bard Eker. “I think we did Ok, but our start wasn’t good. I am not sure why, it may have been the set up but on the other hand Victory 77 drove spectacularly. We are still in second place in the championship and we can make this up”.
Behind the leading trio, Abdullah Al Sulaiti and Lino Di Biase in Qatar 95 won the battle of the Mercury powered boats, finishing fourth ahead of Jorn Tandberg and Christian Zaborowski in Jotun, who sacrificed time and position to stop when Nader Bin Hindi and Rashid Al Marri rolled Victory 7. A double point’s finish was a good result for Veneta Marina’s two boat entry with GFN Gibellato’s Giampaolo Montavoci and Domenico Cirilli finishing sixth ahead of Giuseppe Chillocci and Christian Tzanov.
A broken propeller on lap 11, forcing them into the pits to change props on Negotiator ended Chris Parsonage and Randy Scism’s hopes of a probable fourth placed finish – eventually crossing the line in eighth ahead of Nicola Giorgi and Tomaso Polli in Roscioli Hotels.
Class 1 remains in Doha for the fifth round of the championship on Monday, 12 November. Qatar 96 maintain their four point advantage over Spirit of Norway and after today’s win Victory 77 moves to within four points of Spirit and eight of the leaders.
Qatar Grand Prix – results
1 Victory 77 – Al Marri/Sanchez 20pts
2 Qatar 96 – Al Thani/Nicolini 15pts
3 Spirit of Norway – Eker/Curtis 12pts
4 Qatar 95 – Al Sulaiti/Di Biase 9pts
5 Jotun – Tandberg/Zaborowski 7pts
6 GFN Gibellato – Montavoci/Cirilli 5pts
7 Ceramiche Flaminia – Chillocci/Tzanov 4pts
8 Negotiator – Parsonage/Scism 3pts
9 Roscioli Hotels – Giorgi/Polli 2pts
Victory 7 – Hindi/Al