Team Abu Dhabi 6’s John Tomlinson and Gary Ballough ran Victory 3’s Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi so close in another pole position thriller off the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Thursday morning.
The defending Class 1 World Champions looked to have done enough to clinch pole position when they clocked an impressive tour of 2min 44.623sec on their second lap and that was 0.051 seconds quicker than Victory 3’s instant reply.
But the Dubai crew came back from the pontoon fresh again and a potent third lap of 2min 42.630sec – the fastest of the week so far – could not be matched by Team Abu Dhabi 6’s response of 2min 43.854sec.
Relekta 91 benefited from a replacement turbo charger and engine re-mapping and reached qualifying with far more power than it had finished the Kilo Run on Wednesday.
The Anglo-Italian crew of Ian Blacker and Giovanni Carpitella ran an opener of 2min 57.731sec before returning to the pontoon to make some minor adjustments.
With just seven minutes of the session remaining, they returned to action to card a best lap of 2min 56.269sec to claim third place.
Nico Huybens and Daniel Cramphorn manage to squeeze one timed lap in at the end of the session and will start the race from fourth with a recorded time of 3min 33.929sec.
Team Abu Dhabi 5 missed out on qualifying after Wednesday’s practice accident, but the team was confident that it would start Thursday afternoon’s race from the rear of the field. A spokesman said;
We managed to repair some minor damage to the hull and replaced one engine. The other seemed okay, so we’ll put the finishing touches to it and it will be ready for the race.
2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship – Pole Position times (Thursday):
1. Victory 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) – 2min 42.630sec
2. Team Abu Dhabi 6 – John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA) – 2min 43.854sec
3. Zabo Racing-Relekta 91 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR) – 2min 56.265sec
4. Aquasport 99 – Nick Huybens (BEL)/Daniel Cramphorn (GBR) – 3min 33.929sec
Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) – DNS