Team Abu Dhabi stunned their arch rivals from Dubai’s Victory Team to win the third race of the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Friday afternoon.
But the Victory Team regained the world title that they had ceded to Team Abu Dhabi last November by a single point. The Dubai crew earned four points for running the same engines throughout the race meeting and Team Abu Dhabi was penalised for lifting a Mercury valve cover to make necessary engine checks and only earned two of the four bonus points on offer.
Trailing the multiple World Champions, Arif Saf Al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi, by 10 points heading into the third-race showdown, Team Abu Dhabi 6’s John Tomlinson and Gary Ballough led through the opening lap and began to pull away from their rivals, using a quick three short lap strategy to perfection to enhance the gap.
When the Victory boat slowed to a crawl with a broken propeller and was unable to finish higher than fourth, it looked as though the host team would retain their title in dramatic circumstances by a single championship point.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Class 1 racing manager Randy Scism said,
I guess that is why we go racing.
This is what it is all about.
The boys worked around the clock to get the second boat back in the water.
We got the first boat running right, so this is unbelievable for us.
What a great finish for His Highness Sheikh Sultan and everyone at the Abu Dhabi team.
The gripping race finale brought down the curtain on an exciting week of Class 1 racing hosted by the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club’s (ADIMSC), which saw Team Abu Dhabi 5’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori hold off a closing Italy’s Giovanni Carpitella and England’s Ian Blacker in Zabo 91 to take second position.
Aquasport 99’s Nico Huybens and Daniel Cramphorn borrowed an alternator off Zabo Racing, but retired after completing one lap of the Class 1 race.
Trophies and prizes were handed out by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, advisor to the Head of State and chairman of the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC), in the presence of a number of senior dignitaries and VIPs, including Raffaele Chiulli, the visiting President of the UIM and ARISF.
Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the ADIMSC said,
All our team has put a lot of effort into hosting this event and I am delighted that it has been a success and the racing was so exciting.
We extend our thanks to H.H. Sheikh Sultan for his support.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Race 3
Forty minutes of racing and one additional lap were scheduled. All eight boats made it to the start with a slight ripple on the water and Team Abu Dhabi 6 headed Victory 3 through the first lap and passed the timing beam for the first time several seconds in front of their V12-engined rivals.
Team Abu Dhabi 5 was third and Aquasport 99 benefited from an alternator borrowed from Zabo Racing to hold fifth behind Zabo 91.
Team Abu Dhabi 6 and 5 ran a short lap two and the former extended its lead over Victory 3 to 34.16 seconds. As Aquasport 99 struggled with engine issues, Team Abu Dhabi 6 and 5 ran short again and Tomlinson’s and Ballough’s lead grew to 58.69 seconds.
They repeated the strategy on lap four and Victory 3 found themselves 1min 15.19sec adrift.
But Team Abu Dhabi 6 had to run long laps from now on and the gap was reduced to 48.88 seconds after five tours, as Victory 3 snatched second place from Team Abu Dhabi 5. The difference fell to 33.68 seconds at the start of lap seven.
Victory 3 opted not to go long on lap seven and the gap grew to 41 seconds. The pendulum was swinging in Team Abu Dhabi 6’s favour and then Victory 3 slowed to a crawl with a broken propeller and all but conceded defeat.
They knew the importance of continuing and finishing ahead of Zabo 91 to take third place, however, with their main rivals on course for 20 valuable points.
It was not to be and Zabo 91 overtook a struggling Victory 3 to take third place, as Team Abu Dhabi 6 and 5 powered into a clear first and second places and the title began to edge towards Team Abu Dhabi in dramatic fashion.
Victory 3 was now running at a snail’s pace just to complete 10 laps and score nine points, but Team Abu Dhabi 6 held on over the closing laps to claim the win, only to miss out on the UIM Class 1 World Championship title by a single point when engine bonus points were awarded after the chequered flag.
2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship – Race 3 result (Friday):
1. Team Abu Dhabi 6 – John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA) – 43min 23.01sec
2. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) – @ 2min 48.28sec
3. Zabo 91 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR) – @ 2min 53.87sec
4. Victory 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) – L2
Aquasport 99 – Nick Huybens (BEL)/Daniel Cramphorn (GBR) – DNF
2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship – final positions (unofficial):
1. Victory 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) – 53pts
2. Team Abu Dhabi 6 – John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA) – 52pts
3. Zabo 91 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR) – 40pts
4. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) – 15pts
5. Aquasport 99 – Nick Huybens (BEL)/Daniel Cramphorn (GBR) – 9pts