Shukran to the all Victory team.
We did it. Well done guys. We retained the world title. We worked hard throughout the whole season, both at the race circuit and back at headquarters in Dubai. Many thanks to all of the Victory team people, you always do a great job, providing us with the perfect machine to race. It‘s a winning team, it is the VICTORY TEAM.
The final round of the 2011 championship has been absolutely nerve wracking… due to a positive result from an anti doping test in Cernobbio, Nadir was suspended from racing by the UIM until a hearing, to be held early next year, will allow us to clear his name; to make things even worse, the points earned in Cernobbio were deducted, this moved us back from first position to third, now we were 12 point behind Spirit of Qatar 95 in second place and 24 behind the new leader of the championship, Spirit of Qatar 96. It looked like our hopes of retaining the World Championship was gone, as even if we were to win both of the final two races the Qatar boats only had to finish in the top half of the fleet to claim the title. Some at this point might give up and walk away but Arif al Zafeen is not one of those people and Victory Team is not that sort of organization. For us there is only one thing that counts win, win and win. Make as many points as we can and see how the dice fall. We will not make it easy for anyone to strip our title. We will fight till the end
And so like an old time gunslinger strapping on his guns for one final encounter, Mohamed Al Marri stepped back into the arena shaking the dust from his overalls and getting back into the cockpit to join with Arif for the final showdown.
The mood of the 2 drivers and the whole team was good, morale was high and the adrenalin was pushing us. We knew that to win the title something special has to happen, we had to make something great. Everything had to be perfect; we can not afford to make any mistakes.
Thursday – Free practice.
This was a critical one and a half hours for Arif and Mohamed, a limited time to do some laps together to see if they could gel in the cockpit and get a feel of each others driving style. For us as a team we needed to test a few set-ups, we were not after the best lap time we just needed to see a well balanced boat. By the time the session ended we were very happy about our performance.
Friday – Pole position.
Confidence was even higher after the short practice in the morning, we had the fastest lap time and Arif and Mohammed were feeling good together. The mood in the Victory camp was even better by the end of Pole position, Arif and Mohamed had promised to give their all to try and get the pole and they made it, the closest boat was three second behind; it was another great performance from our crew.
Friday – Race 1.
What a great start. We knew we needed to make a good start and create a gap between us and the rest of the fleet to give us good open water conditions in the critical opening laps of the race and they did it; on the start lap we had 10 seconds over the following boat and Arif and Mohamed pushed hard throughout the race, no other boat could match their pace and barring technical problems, victory in the race never looked in doubt. The tension on shore watching the race was high, but everything went well, Arif and Mohammed took the chequered flag with a lead of one and a half minutes over Spirit of Qatar 95 and a technical problem for Championship leader Spirit of Qatar 96 left them struggling around the course on only one engine to finish 10th. We had closed the gap to the 2 boats in front of us; we had rekindled our hopes of claiming the title.
Saturday – Race 2.
As Saturday dawned, the tension in the pits was sky high, overnight fevered calculations of the possible points scenarios had revealed that although we were still seven points behind new Championship leader Qatar 95 and five behind Qatar 96 in second, with the inclusion of engine bonus points the title would go to whichever of the boats crossed the line in first place.
For the morning practice we tested 2 different set-ups and were quite happy about our performance, Arif and Mohammed were setting the pace. Race strategy was the same as in the first race: push as much as we can. As the boats left the jetty for the last time this season we knew we had done everything we could, now it was up to Arif and Mohammed.
Another great start from Arif & Mohamed gave them the lead of the race and as soon as they had opened a good gap we decided to take all 5 long laps, one after the other; the strategy worked, as the last of the boats completed their long laps Victory 3 was still leading the race. With the shore crew watching tensely from the harbour, Arif and Mohammed kept pushing till the chequered flag and as they crossed the line we knew we had done it: we were still the WORLD CHAMPIONS.
What a great weekend; a brilliant performance from Arif and Mohammed, the great performance of the boat, the engines were so well tuned and reliable as ever; everyone did a great job. Many thanks to all Victory Team staff who made this happen. SHUKRAN GUYS.