Dubai team still smarting from Norwegian penalty
The Dubai Victory Team will shrug off the disappointment of losing their appeal against the time penalty imposed on Victory 1 following the BMW Norwegian Grand Prix for hitting and destroying a turn-buoy. It cost them a place and three points. The focus is now on a three-race run towards the Class 1 title, starting in Porto Marina, Egypt on Saturday. With the Dubai team still smarting at missing out on the European Championship by a single point, it promises to be a fight-to-the-finish.
Despite maintaining the buoy was destroyed by the actions of Inge Brigt Aarbakke and Jorn Tandberg aboard Jotun, the Victory Team sportingly refused to protest against their Norwegian title rivals, a move that could have cost them dear.
Victory Team General Manager Gianfranco Venturelli admitted he was disappointed with the decision.
“There is no doubt we destroyed the turn buoy but our drivers had no alternative,” he said. “But it was a move forced on Mohammed (Al Marri) and Nadir (Bin Hendi) by the actions of Jotun – if they had avoided the buoy or made a drastic reduction in speed, there was every possibility an accident would have happened.”
“At the end of the day Jotun won fair and square and we didn’t want to protest against them – but we feel that in the spirit of the rules, the WPPA should have reconsidered the three-point penalty that was imposed on Victory. I’m disappointed as I think we did everything we could in the circumstances but we are being penalised because of it.”
“We have definitely learned a lesson from this and, in the future, will make sure we file a protest in light of any doubtful incident in order to clarify the situation as soon as possible.”
Al Marri and Bin Hendi lead the title race by ten points from team-mates Abdullah Al Mehairbi and Jean-Marc Sanchez, but after a three-race winning streak, the Victory 1 crew has endured disappointing races in Norway and Romania.
“We have to put the loss of the three points behind us and fight back this weekend,” said Al Marri. “We were flying in Romania and would have won but for a broken propeller. Our job is only to focus on this weekend – the final two championship races in Dubai in December are still a long way off.”