As the clock ticks down the last few hours to the opening round of the 2012 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri make an emphatic statement for Victory Team that they are not ready to release their grip on the Sam Griffith trophy by taking top position in Wednesdays Edox pole position.
Confidence was high in the Victory Team camp after the morning’s first practice as Arif and Mohammed got the 2012 season off to a good start with the best time of the session ahead of Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori. The remaining positions at the end of the 90 minute morning test were taken by Poliform’s Guido Cappellini and new partner Gian Maria Gabbiani with the two boats of home team Spirit of Qatar close behind, Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis just having the advantage over team mates Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini. Relekta’s Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski started well but a broken torque sensor curtailed their test after just two laps. For returning Paul Gaiser driving alongside Norwegian Bjorge Jacobsen in Wellmax the two year break since his last appearance had not dimmed his touch and an encouraging sixth place by the end of the practice session bodes well for the weekend whilst for newcomer Massimo Roggiero alongside Pal Virik Nilsen in FA.RO ACCIAI it was a tough introduction to the top level of Offshore racing with times significantly below those of the front runners. For Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella of Fendi racing it was a day sat on the sidelines as the crew carried out repairs to their boat following a high speed grounding on a sand bar during a test the previous day, but hopes are high that they can have the boat ready for the first race later today.
The result for Victory 3 in the afternoon’s Pole position on the 4.21Nm, Pole position course was not easily taken, as Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis were the team that set the early pace with a time of 2.23.37, but sadly for them a broken water hose cut short their chance of securing the days honors. It took Arif and Mohammed 4 laps to edge ahead of Spirit of Qatar 96 with a time of 2.23.35, but such a small margin did not sit well with the UAE team and after 2 more laps they finished the day half a second ahead with a final lap time of 2.22.84. The final place on the podium was secured by Spirit of Qatar 95 as Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori could not capitalize on the morning’s performance and were relegated to 4th, whilst engine problems stymied Guido Cappellini and Gian Maria Gabbiani in their bid to start the season on a high.
So with the first duel in this year’s season complete, the teams now prepare for their first chance to test themselves on the full 8.44Nm race course in today’s second practice ahead of Race 1 this afternoon.
PEARL QATAR GRAND PRIX, EDOX POLE POSITION – Results
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) - 02.22,84
2. 96 Spirit of Qatar - H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) - 02.23,37
3. 95 Spirit of Qatar - A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) - 02.25,26
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) - 02.25,43
5. 90 Welmax - P Gaiser (BRA) / B Jacobsen (NOR) - 02.26,43
6. 74 Poliform - G Cappellini (MON) / G M Gabbiani (ITA) - 02.28,15
7. 91 Relekta - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) - 02.29,82
8. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - M Roggiero (ITA) / P V Nilsen (NOR) - 02.35,84
10 Fendi Racing - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) - dns