Dubai: The Dubai-based Victory Team has eased into their final preparations to mount a multi-pronged challenge in the international world of watersports during the upcoming season.
As per the calendar finalised by the Jebel Ali-based set-up, Victory Team will participate in Class 1, Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 4 in the world of powerboat racing, while also making their debut on the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship through multi-world champion Kevin Reiterer.
Even though Victory Team made their offshore powerboat racing debut in 1986, it wasn’t until 1992 that they made an actual entry as a guest fielding two boats. The impact was swift and huge with Victory Team boats taking the first and second positions in both races of the 1992 UIM Class 1 Championship. The following year was the real start of their dominance as the team went on to win 14 Class 1 crowns between 1993 till the last one in 2014.
A lack of competition opportunities and alterations in the sport saw Victory Team take a temporary step back and limit its participation on the Class 1 scene. However, this season the Victory Team duo of Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali will be participating in the world’s largest marine sports championship — the Super Boat International in Key West, Florida from November 4-11.
“The American frontier is nothing new for Victory Team with the Dubai team racers making an impact at various competitions way back from 1990 to 1992 in Florida and Key West. And now, as we mark the ‘Year of Zayed’, we want to leave behind an indelible mark through sports on behalf of the UAE,” explained Huraiz Al Mur Huraiz, chairman of the Board of Directors at Victory Team.
“The SBI Championship is the toughest of its kind in Class 1, and making an impact in North America will serve the cause of the UAE as we head towards hosting Expo 2020,” he added.
Prior to the main race in November, the Victory Team will participate in a warm-up event to be held at the same venue from September 28-30.
Flying the Victory Team flag in the UIM F1H2O World Championship will be star Ahmad Al Hameli and four-time defending world champion Alex Carella, who changed sides from Team Abu Dhabi. The championship gets under way in Portimao, Portugal from May 18-20 followed by the second round in mid-June in London that marks its return to the F1 circuit after a gap of more than three decades.
Assisting the team this is will be the cutting-edge technology F1 boats that have been entirely built by the Victory Team at its base in Jebel Ali. The boats have been designed to conform to F1H2O regulations including a high-strength hull constructed from carbon fibre, Kevlar, synthetic fibre, Airex and Nomex. The F1 boat is further powered by a 2.5-litre, two-stroke Mercury engine that pumps out 400hp at 9,500rpm with the capacity to accelerate from 0-100 kph in just four seconds and the capability of reaching 220kph flat out.
In the F2 class, the Victory Team will be led by the duo of Suhail Khalfan and Mansour Al Mansouri, both with varied experiences in the world of powerboat racing. The opening round of the F2 World Championship will be held in Kaunas, Lithuania on May 26-27 followed by the second round in Aalborg, Denmark in mid-June before moving to Tonsberg, Norway (August 4-5), Ribadouro, Portugal (September 22-23) and finally to Colombo, Sri Lanka (November 10-11).
The last of the powerboat pool will be served by Ahmad Al Fahim, who officially joined Victory Team as their F4 driver for the season. The UIM F4 season will run alongside the 2018 UIM F1H2O World Championship that starts in Portugal and concludes in Sharjah.
For the first time-ever, Victory Team has ventured into aquabikes while bringing in five-time world champion racer Kevin Reiterer of Austria on board. Reiterer, who turns 26 in August, will start off in the Ski GP1 Division in the 2018 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championships with the opening round in Gallipoli, Italy (May 25-27), followed by Round Two in Olbia, Italy (June 2-3) a couple of rounds in China with Nansha (September 14-16) and then Shanghai (September 21-23) before the racers turn to the UAE for the last two rounds — in Dubai from November 15-17 followed by the season finale in Sharjah from December 11-14.
The Plan for the season
Class 1: Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali
F1: Ahmad Al Hameli and Alex Carella
F2: Suhail Khalfan and Mansour Al Mansouri
F4: Ahmad Al Fahim
Aquabikes: Kevin Reiterer
By: Alaric Gomes – Chief Reporter