Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri completed their Abu Dhabi Grand Prix treble after cruising to a comfortable Victory in race 2.
Today’s win, their seventh of the season, ends a near perfect season for the Champions, claiming top spot in the World, Middle East and Edox Pole Position Championships.
Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella maintained their impressive run of form to finish on the podium for the second time in two days bringing LFFendi10 home in second place, with Zabo-Isiklar’s Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski ending their season on a high with a well-deserved first podium of the year and clinching fourth place in the Championship.
The newly crowned Champions were in a league of their own and took the initiative from the start and led the race from flag to finish and at no time came under any pressure.
By mid-race Al Zafeen and Al Marri had eased out to a 30 second lead and were in cruise control and able to back off in the closing stages to win the 14 lap, 70.17Nm race by 12 seconds. “It was the perfect way to end our season,” said the five time World Champion Al Zafeen. “There was no pressure on us today and the conditions outside the island were much flatter. The start was good for all boats with no issues and once we came inside we controlled the race and our pace.”
Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella completed their hat-trick of race podiums to round off a very strong second half the year, but had to hold off a strong challenge from Zabo-Isiklar in the closing stages. “This is super good for us and a big comeback in the Championship,” said owner-driver Formilli Fendi. “This boat has made a big difference and our year really only got going in July. We have been able to make some changes to the boat and now have a very good package. I think we can be stronger next year.”
Zabo Racing’s habit of ending their seasons on the podium continued, with Isik and Zaborowski’s strategy of taking their second short lap late paying dividends, moving them up from sixth place at the end of lap six into third spot a lap later.
For the remainder of the race they piled the pressure on and chased down LFFendi10 closing the gap too under five seconds. “It was good race for us. We were a little short of speed but made up for that in the turns. I think if we had a few more laps we could have caught Fendi.”
For the first Grand Prix this season Team Abu Dhabi missed out on a podium finish, with Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori again finishing in fourth.
Gian Maria Gabbiani and Luca Nicolini did not have the pace to run with the others but did have the reliability, ending a positive weekend for the team picking up their best result of the year finishing in fifth spot.
There was disappointment for Victory Team Australia’s Darren Nicholson and Peter McGrath who were running in second place when their race came to an abrupt end after a broken torque sensor forced them to stop on lap seven.
Subseapilot lasted just two laps with Yngve Bratland and Bjorge Jacobsen returning to the pits with an engine problem, Poliform-Spirit of Gabon’s Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci following them in on lap 10, also with an engine issue.
ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX, RACE 2 – Results
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) 00.42.31,12
2. 10 Fendi Racing - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 00.11,71
3. 91 Zabo Isiklar - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 00.16,97
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 00.24,16
5. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 03.10,71
6. 74 Poliform - G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) dnf
7. 7 Victory Team of Australia - D Nicholson (AUS) / P Mc Grath (NZL) dnf
8. 8 Subseapilot - Y Bratland (NOR) / B Jacobsen (NOR) dnf
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - after race 8
1. 3 Victory Team - 177pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 127pts 3. 10 Fendi Racing - 87pts 4. 91 Zabo Isiklar - 63pts 5. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 53pts 6. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 45pts 7. 7 Victory Team of Australia - 37pts 8. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 34pts 9. 74 Spirit of Gabon - Poliform - 22pts 10. 8 Subseapilot - 7pts 11. 90 Welmax - 5pts 12. 9 Welmax - 0pts
MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIP - after race 6
1. 3 Victory Team - 112pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 75pts 3. 10 Fendi Racing - 52pts 4= 91 Zabo Isiklar - 33pts 4= 7 Victory Team of Australia - 33pts 6. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 32pts 7. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI - 23pts 8. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 9pts 9. 74 Spirit of Gabon - Poliform - 7pts 10. 8 Subseapilot - 3pts 11. 90 Welmax - 0pts