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Team Abu Dhabi aim to end season on high note

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) will host the final round of the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship on Thursday and Friday.

Two offshore races will draw a curtain on a successful Abu Dhabi Water Festival, which saw the ADIMSC host the penultimate round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship last Friday, world championship Aquabike racing earlier this week and the UIM Nations Cup on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Team Abu Dhabi has endured its fair share of disappointments recently including the first-lap crash between teammates Thani Al Qamzi and Ahmad Al Hameli in last weekend’s F1 H2O race. Technical problems outside the team’s control meant that Rashed Al Tayer and Faleh Al Mansoori were able to run for only a couple of laps in the two races at October’s Class 1 Mediterranean Grand Prix at Terracina in Italy.

Al Tayer and Al Mansoori have recovered from that Italian disappointment and are now raring to go at the final two races of the Class 1 series on Thursday and Friday. They currently sit at the foot of the World Championship points’ standings because they failed to score at either of the Italian races, but have already targeted podium finishes in Abu Dhabi to round off the season.

“We know that we must deliver a good performance for the team in our two home races,” said Al Tayer. “There is no pressure on us. We are not in contention for the championship, so we can relax and aim for the podium.”

Team Abu Dhabi runs under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) with the backing of Etihad Airways as the team’s official carrier. The club runs under the chairmanship of Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Adviser to the President.

Attention at the front of the field will focus on whether Victory 3’s Arif Saif Al Zafeen and Mohammad Al Marri can clinch yet another World Championship title for the Dubai-based team. The Victory duo have a 26-point advantage over Zabo-Isiklar in the points’ standings and only need to score 14 points from the two races to confirm the title. Twenty points are on offer to the winners of each race, with 15 for second and 12 for third.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will also mark the return from suspension of Nadir Bin Hendi. The experienced Emirati is set to team up with Australian driver Darren Nicholson in the Victory Team Australia boat. The D’Alessio Racing Team that runs the FA.RO ACCIAI boat have also confirmed that Cagliari-born Italian Roberto Lo Piano will replace Gian Maria Gabbiani alongside Luca Nicolini.

Teams will carry out their routine technical inspections on Wednesday morning and then will be permitted to take to the offshore course for their first practice session at 4pm after the conclusion of the second day of the UIM Nations Cup.

A further 90 minutes’ practice is allowed from 8am on Thursday morning and this precedes the Edox Trophy Pole Position qualifying for race one from noon. Race one at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix fires into life at 3.30pm.

A similar timetable will be repeated on Friday, with free practice running for one hour from 10am and then the second of the pole position qualifying sessions taking centre stage at 11am. The second race of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix starts at 3.30pm and is followed by the Class 1 prize giving.

2013 UIM Class 1 World Championship standings — after round 3 of 4

1. Victory 3, 91 pts

2. Zabo-Isiklar 91, 65 pts

3. Luca Fendi Racing 10, 62 pts

4. Victory Australia Powered by Hub 7, 60 pts

5. Luca Fendi Racing 8, 52 pts

6. FA.RO ACCIAI, 46 pts

7. Poliform 75, 34 pts

8. Team Abu Dhabi 5, 18 pts