Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi and Italian driver Tullio Abbate have their work cut out to achieve success in the Double 6 Hours of Augustów – the Necko Endurance race – after electrical issues cost them the lead in the first of the two six-hour races in Poland on Saturday afternoon.
They were classified in fifth place at the finish of the opening race in the S2 class.
The team running out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) led through the opening laps, but a lengthy delay played into the hands of their rivals and Nollet powered by New Star 1 fended off the challenge from their team-mates in Nollet powered by New Star 20 to head into what looked like a 1-2 finish for the Franco-Russian team.
But Nollet 1 was forced out of the running after 216 laps with a broken engine and the Medovarus Racing Team stormed through to claim victory over the Touax Racing Team by six laps, as Nollet 20 rounded off the podium places and pushed Xtrem Racing down to fourth. The Arion Racing Team won the S3 class.
The first of the two six-hour races started at 09.00hrs on Saturday morning and finished at 15.00hrs. Team Abu Dhabi faced five other teams in the S2 class, including the two Nollet powered by New Star outfits, and there were a further six boats entered in the S3 class.
Team Abu Dhabi 6 started well and, after 45 minutes of the race, the crew were leading, having completed 36 laps to their main rivals’ 35. Both the Nollet boats held second and third places and the Medovarus Racing Team, Xtrem Racing and the Touax Racing Team were fourth, fifth and sixth.
As the race neared the one-hour mark, Nollet powered by New Star 1 had snatched a narrow advantage and had completed 43 laps to the 42 run by second-placed Team Abu Dhabi, Medovarus 74 and Nollet powered by New Star 20. But the team running out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club hit trouble soon afterwards and slipped to the foot of the rankings after returning to the pits. They quickly dropped 12 laps to the race leading Nollet 1 and were 25 laps adrift and still not back on the race course after Nollet 1 had completed 65 laps.
Team Abu Dhabi resumed racing soon afterwards in sixth place, but the Emirati DAC was 32 laps adrift of Nollet 1 and 28 behind the second-placed Medovarus 74 after a little under two hours of racing. The six boats held station through 2hrs 20min of the six-hour race where Nollet 1 had completed 125 laps and was running on the same lap as Medovarus. Team Abu Dhabi had reduced the margin to 27 laps but remained in sixth position.
Nollet 1 retained a one-lap advantage over Medovarus 74 through 3hrs 18min of racing and 176 tours of the Necko Lake course. Team Abu Dhabi remained in sixth place, 50 laps behind the leaders after another delay. Nollet 1 had completed 204 laps after 3hrs 48min of the race and held a four-lap lead over Nollet 20, with Medovarus 74 a single lap behind. Team Abu Dhabi was out of the water and had only completed 126 laps.
Nollet 1 reached the four-hour mark five laps in front of Medovarus 74 and Nollet 20 was a further six laps adrift but ongoing electrical issues meant that Team Abu Dhabi was running at the rear of the field.
After 4hrs 45min of the six-hour race, Medovarus 74 had snatched a surprise lead of six laps over the Touax Racing Team, with Xtrem Racing up to third and the Nollet powered by New Star 20 and 1 slipping to fourth and fifth overall, the latter having retired after 216 laps and 4hrs 01min of the race with engine issues.
Team Abu Dhabi now faced a battle against the clock to try and overhaul the 216 laps that had been recorded by Nollet 1 and move up to fifth place. With 45 minutes of the race remaining, Team Abu Dhabi was running 34 laps short of fifth place, as Medovarus 74 led Touax by six laps and Xtrem and Nollet 20 were running on the same lap, 12 behind the leaders.
Team Abu Dhabi reduced Nollet 1’s hold on fifth place to 20 laps with 30 minutes remaining and the difference was just seven laps with 16 minutes to run. There were no late dramas either and Team Abu Dhabi climbed to fifth place after 5hrs 51mins, with Medovarus 74 beating Touax Racing Team by six laps to claim the win.
Competitors will be permitted a second training session on the lake on Sunday morning between 09.00hrs and 10.00hrs and race two is scheduled to start at 11.00hrs, finishing at 17.00hrs.
Augustów Necko Endurance – race 1 result (unofficial @ 15.10hrs):
1. Medovarus Racing Team 74 320 laps
2. Touax Pegase Racing Team 8 314 laps
3. Team Nollet powered by New Star 20 308 laps
4. Xtrem Racing 26 297 laps
5. Team Abu Dhabi 6 227 laps
6. Team Nollet powered by New Star 1 216 laps – DNF