Wednesday, 4 November, ABU DHABI (UAE): It was clear from the opening bouts in today’s practice sessions that Abu Dhabi do not intend to lose their top spot in the standings and Victory do not intend to roll over and let their title go.
It was pretty much honours even with championship leader’s Gary Ballough and John Tomlinson topping the time sheets in this morning’s 90 minute free practice posting the best time of the day, 4:25.91, around the 6.78Nm circuit on their fifth flying lap.
The Abu Dhabi duo and Victory’s Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi traded times and swapped places at the top of the time sheets, but it was Ballough and Tomlinson who grabbed the psychological advantage, 1.35 seconds quicker than their rivals and opting not to go out for the afternoon session. “Testing was good. We had an idea the boat was going to be good. We didn’t know how good because Victory weren’t in Italy with the boat they have here,” said John Tomlinson. “It was a little bumpy on the outside with two three foot rollers but you could go across pretty good. It’s a good circuit, lefts rights, rough outside and flat inside where you can pick up the pace. Setup will be the key, what you can gain on one leg you can lose on the other.”
Teammates Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori were the best of the chase quartet with 4:31.33, but they failed to improve their time in the afternoon session.
Both Victory outfits took advantage of the second session with Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi quickest but also failing to better their time, Darren Nicholson ad Matteo Nicolini’s best time of the day, 4:33.69 set in the morning outing.
Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella’s best of the day was 4:32.44 but only enough for fifth fastest with Niclas Johannsson and Christian Zaborowski’s best a 4:34.77.
V1 championship points’ leader Bernico-New Star was the quickest on the day with Dmitry Vandyshev and Nico Bertels’ time 5:09.85, just 1.17 seconds better than defending champions Aaron Ciantar and Dominique Martini in Chaudron, followed by Karelpiu and Silverline.
Qualifying for race 1 of the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi starts tomorrow at 10.30hrs [local] the race starting at 15.30hrs.