Victory Team’s Ahmed Al Fahim lived up to his potential with outright triumph in the second race of the F4 category during the Grand Prix of India, the fifth round of the 2018 UIM F1H2O World Championship, on Sunday.
Al Fahim, who was one of the few emirati talents given a break at the start of the season, finished the second race on the Krishna River to take maximum points and pull himself into contention for overall honours.
The race was always going to be an interesting one after Al Fahim claimed pole position with a fine lap of 53.61 seconds leaving England’s Sam Whittle in second and Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammad Al Mehairbi in fifth.
Race one winner Rudolf Mihaldinecz did not start the qualifying session leaving the field open for the rest of the drivers.
Al Fahim led the way towards the first turn and completed the first lap 1.88 seconds off Whittle, but the yellow flag was raised almost immediately before action re-started on Lap 3.
Al Fahim began to pull away from Whittle with the seven surviving boats holding station through Lap 8 of 20 with the leader extending his advantage.
There were no changes to the running order after Lap 12 and Al Fahim managed to hold on to his lead to claim the win over Whittle by nearly five seconds.
Ahmed Al Hameli and Alex Carella, Al Fahim’s teammates, were not as fortunate with Al Hameli coming in eighth, while Carella did not even finish his race.
Action in the UIM F1 H2O World Championship reaches a conclusion with two races in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in December.
Dubai’s Victory Team capped a successful trans-Atlantic debut with an overall podium finish as the 38th Annual Key West World Championships concluded in Florida on Monday.
Moving into the North American powerboating scene for the first time, Victory 33 with Salem Al Adidi and John Tomlinson on board took their third successive podium to conclude their campaign with their first-ever top-3 finish in North America.
Victory Team’s second boat with Eisa Al Ali and Steve Curtis on board rolled over and flipped on Turn 1 of the fourth lap to bring a premature end to their American campaign.
The two Victory Team boats had created quite a stir in the penultimate race on Friday by snatching the top two positions to throw the chase for overall honours wide open.
But, on Monday it was a totally different situation with front-runners Team CRC and Wake Effects rebounding in strong fashion.
Ron and Jeff Harris (Wake Effects) took the checkered flag to be crowned world champions after finishing with a three-race total of 883 points, nipping Team CRC in second place by just half a point, while Victory 33 followed in third overall with 812 points.
“This is the world of powerboat racing. It is tough out there and for us to come here and land with an overall placing is a huge motivation,” said Huraiz Bin Huraiz, chairman of board of directors at Victory Team after the race.
“We have done some good ground work in our first year in North America and I am sure we can build on this performance in due course.
“We have made a start into a new territory and that is the important part of our team synergy. It is now just a matter of time when we build up on this success.”
Team Abu Dhabi 4’s Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al-Mansoori overtook the Dubai Police crew of Nadir Bin Hendi and Arif Saif Al-Zafeen to seal a convincing victory at the Hangzhou Grand Prix on Saturday.
After a stunning performance in Shanghai last week, the men from the capital duly tied with their Emirati rivals in the UIM XCAT World Championship title race ahead of the second of the Hangzhou races on Sunday morning.
The 222 Offshore crew of Italy’s Giovanni Carpitella and Australia’s Darren Nicholson delivered a solid performance to finish in second position, while Team Australia’s Blue Roo crew of crew of Pal-Virik Nilsen and Jan Trygve Braaten were third.
But it was bad news for Dubai Police who limped home in sixth after seeing a commanding series lead evaporate in the third of six Chinese XCAT races in three successive weekends.
Torrente said: “Abu Dhabi gives us the best boat and this is a fantastic result for us. Now we are tied for the lead in the championship after this race result. Now we have a big chance to win the championship.”
Al-Sayed added: We are feeling very positive about the remaining races. It is important for us to maintain our momentum for the championship. I am very happy with the way the team is working but we must continue to push and increase the pressure on our rivals.”
Team Abu Dhabi 4 and 5 lined up in second and fifth positions respectively for the start of the opening 17-lap race but it was a disappointing afternoon for rivals Swecat Racing, who were sidelined before the start due to mechanical issues.
The Abu Dhabi side made a solid start and applied the pressure on Dubai Police from the outset. Torrente and Faleh Al-Mansoori managed to hit the front and were followed through the opening turns by 222 Offshore and the Blue Roo, as Dubai Police slipped to fourth ahead of Team Abu Dhabi 5.
Over the subsequent number of laps there were minor changes to the running order and Team Abu Dhabi 4 continued to lead from 222 Offshore, although the Blue Roo passed Dubai Police to snatch third and Dubai Police then slipped down into sixth.
Team Abu Dhabi 4 held on to claim the win from 222 Offshore and the Blue Roo, but sixth for Dubai Police dented their title challenge.