Victory clinch record 13th Powerboat title with ease
Victory Team throttleman Mohammed Al Marri said their experience was the most telling factor as they won their 13th UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Al Marri, 51, and pilot Arif Al Zaffain, 39, needed just 15 points from 40 over the weekend to secure the title, but after a disappointing first race on Thursday – when they came sixth to collect only five points – Al Marri said they needed to call on all their experience in Race Two to clinch the championship.
Al Marri, who is set retire, said: “We needed to finish the race to get the championship. For that we were scared, because in Italy we broke one propeller and in Race One on Thursday we also broke one propeller.
"So for sure we put ourselves in a little bit of trouble and tension. But we are experienced drivers and that was crucial in the race.”
Victory Team Australia won Thursday’s Race One to draw themselves to within 16 points of sister team Victory 3, and they took the lead coming into the first turn ahead of Al Marri and Al Zaffain, but they didn’t negotiate it well and Victory 3 slipped past to take control of the race.
Al Marri added: “Victory Team Australia got a fast start. On the first corner, we managed to pass them. They were leading coming into it but they made a mistake, they didn’t see the buoy and when they corrected it was our chance to pass. But they easily had the best start.”
However, Al Marri got to work and as they got past the grandstand to complete the first lap, Victory 3 already had a significant advantage over Victory Team Australia. Fendi Racing’s LFF 10 were third after one lap, with Team Abu Dhabi fifth.
“After this we tried to make a gap between ourselves and the others,” Al Marri added. “We needed to cover the time percentage between us and them, if something went wrong, so we tried to extend this gap.”
And they achieved this with relative ease. Giovanni Carpitella, the throttleman for second-placed LFF 10, said: “We started well, we were fast, but after one lap we had a problem with the left engine. Every single lap after this we dropped down on the power more and more.”
Only six boats finished Race Two – Victory 3 won by a margin of 41.41s ahead of LFF 10 in second and Team Abu Dhabi third, 02.4 minutes further back.
1. Victory - 41m22.39s
2. LFF10 - 00.41.41
3. Team Abu Dhabi - 02:04.00
4. LFF8 - +1 Lap
5. FA.RO. ACCIAI - +1 Lap
6. Zabo-Isiklar - +4 Lap
7. HUB Team Australia - DNF
8. Poliform Polimersan - DNF
1. Victory - 120pts
2. Zabo-Isiklar - 89
3. LFF10 - 88
4. HUB Team Australia - 84
5. LFF8 - 72
6. FA.RO. ACCIAI - 61
7. Team Abu Dhabi - 46
8. Poliform Polimersan - 38