A mixed start for Victory Team in the Norwegian Grand Prix, a technical infringement confirmed by the official scrutineers meant that the Victory 3 had to remain on its trailer during the first practice session on Friday afternoon. But after a a night of hard work the problem was rectified and so galvanized by the delay to the start of their race weekend Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi laid down their mark in the Edox pole position with a blistering performance seting the standard with a time of 3 minutes 53.2 seconds, which would have been enough to be on pole position but a second lap was even better, leaving them almost 3 seconds clear of the chasing boats of Qatar, Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini pipping their Spirit of Qatar teammates Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis to take second place. The boats of Team Abu Dhabi and Welamx 90 completing the front row of this 2 row starting grid in the tight confines of the Norwegian fjord. But overshadowing the feel good factor of the Pole position result was the knowledge that to win the race Victory 3 would have to overcome a long lap penalty imposed over the earlier technical infringement.
And so in clear cool conditions the first race of the weekend got underway. As expected it was a tight sprint down to the first turn and would decide the course of the race. Despite a good start by Victory 3, Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis pressed home from their third place on the start line to squeeze in front for the long run out to the end of the course. With the tight conditions of the fjord making the opportunities of overtaking very unlikely for these evenly matched boats the writing was on the wall for the progress of the race. From the front Spirit of Qatar 96 was able to control the race and despite a sterling effort from Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi to make up 4 seconds a lap after completing their penalty lap, time had run out and so they had to settle for second place with Spirit of Qatar 95 taking the final podium place.
The points standing after this race leaves Arif and Nadir leading the Championship but with just a 5 point gap to Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis in second place. And so the scene is set for another tense day of racing to come in the second race. With a wet windy day forecast for the area, conditions may play a factor in the race but with another long lap penalty to overcome it will be a tough task for the reigning champions to overcome, but if anyone can do it these guys can.