As the third and final race in the 2011 UIM Class 3S world Championship approaches, tension remains high in the Victory Team camp. The event started in the worst possible way on Wednesdays testing, when the boat Fazza S3 took to the water for the first time for what should have been a routine test for the drivers to check out and become familiar with the course and confirm that the boat was running fine since its last outing in Dubai. Instead of putting in two or three steady laps the boat had to be towed back to the harbor with both engines out of commission. A frantic double engine change then ensued to get it back out on the water before the test session ended. As usual the crew was up to the task in hand and the boat left the jetty a second time to continue the test. But racing can be a cruel sport and once again the boat was returned with problems on both engines.
And so with 4 engines of the 6 available now defective a long session was required to go over the boat piece by piece to determine the cause of this disastrous start to the campaign. For peace of mind of both pilots and crew, everything possible was inspected and changed as necessary, with the hard working crew leaving nothing to chance.
Race 1 was scheduled to start at 11.00 am local time on Thursday 29th September but problems of other water traffic straying on to the race course caused some delays but eventually the course was confirmed clear to race and so the 2011 Championship got underway. Unfortunately the gentle breeze that had been blowing through the early morning had picked up steadily so that by race time it was gusting up to 20mph creating a rough sea and turning the race into a battle of attrition. Arif and Nadir had a good start to the race and took an early lead but after 3 laps but loss of power on one engine meant Arif and Nadir were forced to change their tactic from vying for the lead to slogging around the course nursing the one good engine to finish as many laps as possible and so score what points they could. This time they caught a lucky break as all but one boat suffered problems of one form or another in the trying conditions and so at race end they had completed the required 70% and were eventually accredited with third place and a respectable 225 points.
Unfortunately as the engine that had failed during the race could not be fixed and all the other engines Victory Team had taken to Italy already used, it appeared that the team’s chance of making the start line on Friday was gone. But in the true spirit of racing that you find among racers everywhere, a spare engine was obtained through Serafino Barlesi and with many hours of hard work again put in by the crew, the boat was again on the water for the start of race 2 on Friday morning.
The conditions on Friday were a little better than encountered the previous day as the wind strength had dropped, but just before race time the wind swung round to a direct on shore southwesterly breeze from the previous days northeasterly, creating some small chop which combined with the wakes of passing ferries and other water traffic to create uncomfortable and tricky conditions for all the teams. Arif and Nadir erred on the side of caution at the start of the race, as they were using an engine that had been put together only the previous night and which they had not been able to test.
So at the first turn they were in 3rd place, chasing down Alex Barone and Lorenzo Bacchi in boat 15 and Michel Karsenti in boat 96. With Barlesi in boat 20 waiting to capitalize on any mistakes they bided there time through the first lap, choosing the moment to make their move without jeopardizing the boat or their race position in the tricky conditions.
By the time they started their second lap they were leading the race and they steadily increased their lead to finish 30 seconds clear of the next boat. With Bacchi in second and Barlesi finishing in third the Fazza S3 of Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi shares 1st place with Barlesi and Francesco Calo on 625 points, with third place belonging to Alex Barone and Lorenzo Bacchi in boat 15.
With the third and final race due to start again at 11.00am local time, our thoughts are with our guys in Bacoli Italy.