TEAM ABU DHABI STUNS VICTORY TEAM BUT DUBAI RIVALS WIN BACK UIM CLASS 1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CROWN IN THRILLING RACE FINALE

TEAM ABU DHABI STUNS VICTORY TEAM BUT DUBAI RIVALS WIN BACK UIM CLASS 1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CROWN IN THRILLING RACE FINALE

Team Abu Dhabi 5 heads off Zabo 91 to claim second position in third race

              Team Abu Dhabi 55’s Alex Carella and Faleh Al-Mansoori win inaugural Abu Dhabi Cup for XCATs

                                                                                                                                                

ABU DHABI (UAE): Friday, November 25:  Team Abu Dhabi stunned their arch rivals from Dubai’s Victory Team to win the third race of the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Friday afternoon. 

 But the Victory Team regained the world title that they had ceded to Team Abu Dhabi last November by a single point. The Dubai crew earned four points for running the same engines throughout the race meeting and Team Abu Dhabi was penalised for lifting a Mercury valve cover to make necessary engine checks and only earned two of the four bonus points on offer. 

 Trailing the multiple World Champions, Arif Saf Al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi, by 10 points heading into the third-race showdown, Team Abu Dhabi 6’s John Tomlinson and Gary Ballough led through the opening lap and began to pull away from their rivals, using a quick three short lap strategy to perfection to enhance the gap. When the Victory boat slowed to a crawl with a broken propeller and was unable to finish higher than fourth, it looked as though the host team would retain their title in dramatic circumstances by a single championship point. 

 “I guess that is why we go racing,” said Team Abu Dhabi’s Class 1 racing manager Randy Scism. “This is what it is all about. The boys worked around the clock to get the second boat back in the water. We got the first boat running right, so this is unbelievable for us. What a great finish for His Highness Sheikh Sultan and everyone at the Abu Dhabi team.”

 The gripping race finale brought down the curtain on an exciting week of Class 1 racing hosted by the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club’s (ADIMSC), which saw Team Abu Dhabi 5’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori hold off a closing Italy’s Giovanni Carpitella and England’s Ian Blacker in Zabo 91 to take second position. 

 To cap a superb afternoon for the host club, the new XCAT partnership of triple UIM F1 H2O World Champion Alex Carella and Faleh Al-Mansoori dominated their second race together in two days to claim the inaugural Abu Dhabi Cup from Raheeb 17’s Abdullatif Al-Omani and Ahmed Al-Suwaidi. Victory 33’s Salem Al-Adidi and Eisa Al-Ali retired after one lap with engine problems. 

 Carella’s UIM F1 H2O team manager Guido Cappellini said: “This was an incredible afternoon. To win the Class 1 race was a terrific achievement against a very strong team. The win in the Abu Dhabi Cup is special as well. We have two drivers coming in the same boat for the first time three days ago. They finished in front of the team that won the XCAT Grand Prix here last weekend and finished second in the championship.”

 Aquasport 99’s Nico Huybens and Daniel Cramphorn borrowed an alternator off Zabo Racing, but retired after completing one lap of the Class 1 race. 

 Trophies and prizes were handed out by 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), in the presence of a number of senior dignitaries and VIPs, including Raffaele Chiulli, the visiting President of the UIM and ARISF. 

 “All our team has put a lot of effort into hosting this event and I am delighted that it has been a success and the racing was so exciting,” said Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the ADIMSC. “We extend our thanks to H.H. Sheikh Sultan for his support.”

 Team Abu Dhabi is sponsored by Etihad Airways and runs with the support of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan.

 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Race 3

 Forty minutes of racing and one additional lap were scheduled. All eight boats made it to the start with a slight ripple on the water and Team Abu Dhabi 6 headed Victory 3 through the first lap and passed the timing beam for the first time several seconds in front of their V12-engined rivals. Team Abu Dhabi 5 was third and Aquasport 99 benefited from an alternator borrowed from Zabo Racing to hold fifth behind Zabo 91. Team Abu Dhabi 55 had a good lead over Raheeb 17 in the XCAT contest after Victory 33 slowed to a crawl with engine issues and returned to the pontoon to retire after completing the lap.

 Team Abu Dhabi 6 and 5 ran a short lap two and the former extended its lead over Victory 3 to 34.16 seconds. As Aquasport 99 struggled with engine issues, Team Abu Dhabi 6 and 5 ran short again and Tomlinson’s and Ballough’s lead grew to 58.69 seconds. They repeated the strategy on lap four and Victory 3 found themselves 1min 15.19sec adrift. 

 But Team Abu Dhabi 6 had to run long laps from now on and the gap was reduced to 48.88 seconds after five tours, as Victory 3 snatched second place from Team Abu Dhabi 5. The difference fell to 33.68 seconds at the start of lap seven. Team Abu Dhabi 55 was also controlling the XCAT race for the Abu Dhabi Cup from Raheeb. 

 Victory 3 opted not to go long on lap seven and the gap grew to 41 seconds. The pendulum was swinging in Team Abu Dhabi 6’s favour and then Victory 3 slowed to a crawl with a broken propeller and all but conceded defeat. They knew the importance of continuing and finishing ahead of Zabo 91 to take third place, however, with their main rivals on course for 20 valuable points. 

 It was not to be and Zabo 91 overtook a struggling Victory 3 to take third place, as Team Abu Dhabi 6 and 5 powered into a clear first and second places and the title began to edge towards Team Abu Dhabi in dramatic fashion. Victory 3 was now running at a snail’s pace just to complete 10 laps and score nine points, but Team Abu Dhabi 6 held on over the closing laps to claim the win, only to miss out on the UIM Class 1 World Championship title by a single point when engine bonus points were awarded after the chequered flag.

 Zabo 91 began to close on Team Abu Dhabi 5 on each of the remaining laps, as Team Abu Dhabi 55 claimed the Abu Dhabi Cup with victory over Raheeb in the XCAT class. 

 Pole Position – Race 3

 Tomlinson and Ballough needed to put Team Abu Dhabi 6 on pole position to give themselves a chance of holding off Victory 3 and trying to claim the win in the last race. There was quite a strong wind blowing across the Breakwater at the start of the session, however, and no one expected lap times to be on a par with the previous three days. 

 XCATs 55 and 33 were the first on to the choppy course and Carella and Faleh Al-Mansoori carded the target lap of 3min 05.980sec that was soon surpassed by Victory 33’s time of 3min 04.637sec. Ballough and Tomlinson ran one lap and recorded a time of 2min 51.415sec – some seven seconds slower than the previous day – as Al-Zafeen and Bin Hendi watched their Class 1 rivals intently from the confines of the pontoon. 

 Zabo 91 ran a pair of consistent laps of 3min 01.923sec and 3min 02.993sec as the session reached its mid-point with the wind abating somewhat. Then, Team Abu Dhabi 55 posting a stunning run of 3min 03.811sec to move in front of Victory 33. “We are speaking a lot now and have found a great rhythm together,” said Carella about his new partnership with Faleh Al-Mansoori, before the pair went on to set an even faster lap of 3min 02.794sec. “The boat is very fast and nicely balanced. Now the times are really good. There is some wind, but it’s okay.”

 Victory 3 took to the water for the first time with 31 minutes remaining and produced a slam-dunk lap of 2min 45.660sec to storm into provisional pole position. With only four minutes to run, both 3 and 6 went back on to the course and crossed the start line of their last qualifying lap with just 51 and 14 seconds remaining of the session, respectively. It was to no avail, however, and Ballough and Tomlinson could only improve slightly with a 2min 50.472sec lap, as Victory 3 reached the flying finish in 2min 50.006sec with Victory 33 stranded out on a remote part of the course with mechanical issues. Raheeb 17 qualified third in the XCAT contest for the Abu Dhabi Cup.

 Oil cooler issues had ruined Aquasport 99’s run in race two on Thursday and the team sourced spare parts from Zabo Racing, before sitting out the session. Team Abu Dhabi 5’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori also sat out pole qualifying. “There were still a couple of little gremlins that we needed to sort out,” said Team Abu Dhabi’s Class 1 manager Randy Scism. “The target was the race in the afternoon.”

 The Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) now has nearly two weeks to prepare to host the penultimate round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship on December 7-9.

 2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship – Race 3 result (Friday):

C1

1. Team Abu Dhabi 6 – John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA)                 43min 23.01sec

2. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE)                    @ 2min 48.28sec

3. Zabo 91 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR)                                                    @ 2min 53.87sec

4. Victory 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE)                                    L2

Aquasport 99 – Nick Huybens (BEL)/Daniel Cramphorn (GBR)                                    DNF

XCATs

1. Team Abu Dhabi 55 – Alex Carella (UAE)/Faleh Al-Mansoori (UAE)                                L2

2. Raheeb 17 – Abdullatif Al-Omani (KWT)/Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (UAE)                    L3            

Victory 33 – Salem Al-Adidi (UAE)/Eisa Al-Ali (UAE)                                                              DNF                                       

 2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship – Pole Position times (Friday):

C1

1. Victory 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE)                                    2min 45.660sec

2. Team Abu Dhabi 6 – John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA)                 2min 50.472sec

3. Zabo 91 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR)                                                    3min 01.923sec

Aquasport 99 – Nick Huybens (BEL)/Daniel Cramphorn (GBR)                                    DNS

Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE)                    DNS

XCATs

1. Team Abu Dhabi 55 – Alex Carella (UAE)/Faleh Al-Mansoori (UAE)                                3min 02.794sec

2. Victory 33 – Salem Al-Adidi (UAE)/Eisa Al-Ali (UAE)                                                              3min 04.637sec

3. Raheeb 17 – Abdullatif Al-Omani (KWT)/Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (UAE)                    3min 13.521sec

 2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship – final positions (unofficial):

1. Victory 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE)                                    53pts

2. Team Abu Dhabi 6 – John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA                   52pts

3. Zabo 91 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR)                                                    40pts

4. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE)                    15pts

5. Aquasport 99 – Nick Huybens (BEL)/Daniel Cramphorn (GBR)                                    9pts