C1 Victory 3 fends off Team Abu Dhabi 6 to draw first blood in UIM Class 1 World Championship


Abu Dhabi, November 21-25, 2016


Victory 3 claimed pole position from Team Abu Dhabi 6; Team Abu Dhabi 5 in third
Team Abu Dhabi, Dubai 33 and Raheeb XCATs to support races two and three on Thursday and Friday

ABU DHABI (UAE): Tuesday, November 22: First blood in this year’s three-race UIM World Class 1 Powerboat Championship fell to Victory 3’s Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi, after Tuesday’s opening Grand Prix laid on by the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) off the Abu Dhabi Breakwater.

Team Abu Dhabi 6’s John Tomlinson and Gary Ballough played their lap strategy in a canny fashion, but could not match the Dubai crew on this occasion, slowed towards the end and reached the chequered flag 1min 50.33sec behind their arch rivals, who take a five-point advantage into the second race on Thursday afternoon.

Italian Giovanni Carpitella and England’s Ian Blacker belied their lack of experience together to produce a solid performance to claim third overall. A late engine change meant that Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori missed the start in Team Abu Dhabi 5 and plans to join the race after the start lap were thwarted when the work took a lot longer than scheduled. It was a disappointing start to the race week for the local crew.

Nico Huybens and Daniel Cramphorn battled against the clock to prepare the unbranded Aquasport for the opening race. Badged and raced as Maritimo 12 by Peter McGrath and Giorgio Manuzzi in 2009 and then used by Zabo Racing for several seasons, Aquasport 99 eventually missed the opening race, although the crew will be in action over the next three days.

Team Abu Dhabi is sponsored by Etihad Airways and runs under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, advisor to the Head of State and chairman of the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC).

Race 1

Victory 3 started in pole position from Team Abu Dhabi 6 and Relekta and the run out to the opening turn buoy would be crucial for the three starters after the original start was red-flagged. Victory stole the advantage and began to pull away down the back straight to take a 5.43-second lead into lap two. Relekta began to fall behind the leading duo.

Both 6 and 91 played the lap strategy on the subsequent tour and Victory’s lead grew to 28.29 seconds. Relekta was now a long way adrift with a misfiring engine, as Tomlinson and Ballough fell 46.25 seconds behind their Dubai rivals. The gap fell to 18.87 seconds after Victory 3 took the longer lap.

Victory went ‘long’ again on lap five and Team Abu Dhabi closed the gap to just 2.46 seconds to set up a thrilling duel to the chequered flag. Team Abu Dhabi 5 was lowered into the water the first time just as Victory complete its sixth lap and the crew extended their lead over Team Abu Dhabi 6 to 9.3 seconds. The pendulum was swinging in the Dubai crew’s favour.

Team Abu Dhabi’s team manager Randy Scism decided against putting the number five boat into action because it was too late to score race points (70% of race distance needs to be completed) and mechanics worked at the pontoon to check the engine for Wednesday. By the start of lap eight, Victory’s lead was still nine seconds and it grew to 12.11 seconds after lap nine.

Team Abu Dhabi 6 slowed noticeably over the closing laps and Victory was able to reach the chequered flag with a winning margin of 1min 50.33sec, with Relekta a distant third and lapped by Victory 3 metres from the flying finish.

Pole Position – race 1

Victory 3 was first on to the water for the one-hour of qualifying and the Dubai crew opened their account with a lap of 2min 48.155sec before returning to the pontoon. Al-Tayer and Al-Mansoori ran for three circuits with a best time of 2min 54.866sec and then Tomlinson and Ballough ran a three-lap stint with each lap considerably faster than the other.

They thought they had done enough to claim pole with the fastest lap of the race meeting so far – a flying 2min 44.000sec - but Al-Zafeen and Bin Hendi had other ideas and they hit the top spot on their return to the water with an impressive lap of 2min 43.653sec and then bettered that with a pole-winning 2min 43.234sec.

Tomlinson said: “We posted a 2min 44sec, but you never know. I thought we were in good shape, but we got bumped. The Victory guys are good. We are still trying to figure out the boat and get time in it. We are happy, but it would have been nice to have pole. It’s pretty close. Last year, the top three boats were the same. It’s good racing. Whoever gets around that first buoy first and comes in first will be in really good shape in the race. It’s a course that is very difficult to pass on, even if you are 4-5mph faster down the straights, it is very hard to pass.”

A minor engine issue kept Blacker and Carpitella off the water until 18 minutes from the end of the session, but the Anglo-Italian duo opened their account in Class 1 racing together with an impressive 2min 58.78sec lap. They bettered that on their fourth tour with 2min 57.298sec, but qualified fourth after Al-Tayer and Al-Mansoori confirmed third late on with 2min 54.341sec. Huybens and Cramphorn missed the session to ready Aquasport for the race.

A Kilo Race is planned for Wednesday and three XCATs from the UIM XCAT World Series will run behind the Class 1 boats in races two and three on Thursday and Friday. Dubai 33, Team Abu Dhabi 5 and Raheeb 17 are confirmed starters, although they will only run the short lap course for their race.

Admission is free for spectators and a food court and entertainment are in situ throughout race days, adjacent to the pit area, on the Abu Dhabi Breakwater.

2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship – Race 1 result (Tuesday - unofficial):
1. Victory 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) 33min 33.81sec 20pts
2. Team Abu Dhabi 6 – John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA) @1min 50.33sec 15pts
3. Zabo Racing-Relekta 91 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR) L1 12pts
Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) DNS 0pts
Aquasport 99 – Nick Huybens (BEL)/Daniel Cramphorn (GBR) DNS 0pts

2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship – Pole Position result (Tuesday - unofficial):
1. Victory 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) 2min 43.234sec 20pts
2. Team Abu Dhabi 6 – John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA) 2min 44.000sec 15pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) 2min 54.341sec 12pts
4. Zabo Racing-Relekta 91 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR) 2min 57.298sec 9pts
5. Aquasport 99 – Nick Huybens (BEL)/Daniel Cramphorn (GBR) DNS 0pts

Timetable of events

Wednesday, November 23
11.00-12.00 Free practice
16.00-17.00 Kilo Run Trophy
17.30 Prize giving on podium – Speed Run Trophy

Thursday, November 24
10.30-11.30 Pole Position Race 2
15.30-16.30 UIM World Championship Race 2
17.00 Prize giving on podium

Friday, November 25
10.30-11.30 Pole Position Race 3
15.30-16.30 UIM World Championship Race 3
17.00 Prize giving on podium for pole, Race 3 and overall

- Ends -

For further media information and information about Team Abu Dhabi:
Please contact: Khalid Al Saadi, Media Incharge, Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, P.O. Box 45656, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Mobile Telephone: + 971 50 768 6761, E-mail: alsaadi@adimsc.ae.




Date issued: 22/11/2016

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