Thursday, 5 November, ABU DHABI (UAE): Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella produced a brilliant performance to take victory in race 1 of the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi to move within eight points of pre event title favourites Abu Dhabi 6.
Second place for defending champions Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi leaves the Victory duo now needing a minor miracle if they are to keep their title, sitting in third place 15 points off the leader’s with just 20 points on offer in the final race of the season tomorrow.
Abu Dhabi title hopeful’s and championship leaders Gary Ballough and John Tomlinson will now have to go the full distance as the title race goes down to the wire, their pre-race 18 point advantage slashed after the American duo’s third place. “We ran hard, did the best that we could do on the day. We dropped behind a little at the start and were then chasing all race-long and getting caught up in the rooster tails and the dirty water at the turns.” Tomlinson said.
Fendi and Carpitella grabbed the upper hand from the start, overhauling pole-sitter’s Victory 3 in the rough seas on the outside leg on the run to the first turn to put T-Bone Station in front at the end of lap 1.
Taking full advantage of their superiority in the conditions on the leg outside Lulu Island the Italians were able to make up any ground lost on the flat inside section, but were unable to shake off their pursuers, Victory and Abu Dhabi 6.
Heading into the final lap T-Bone Station’s lead was under two seconds and despite Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi pushing hard in the closing turns, Fendi and Carpitella took the chequered flag, winning by 1.69 seconds to cap a great day after claiming the Pole Position Championship earlier. “On the outside we push like crazy to take advantage because on the flat we lose about three or four seconds,” said Carpitella. “We took some risks but the boat was fantastic and it was in the rough where we won it. I don’t want to think about the title. It will be very difficult but of course we try our hardest but let’s see what the conditions are like tomorrow.”
In the chasing pack, Victory 7’s Darren Nicholson and Matteo Nicolini and Energima Zabo Racing’s Niclas Johansson and Christian Zaborowski collided at the first turn, but both were able to go the full race distance Victory 7 finishing fourth, Energima coming home in sixth behind the second Abu Dhabi boat. “At turn one we touched the green [buoy] and then Zaborowski, a big touch but we had nowhere to go. He was on our outside, maybe he didn’t see us.”
In V1 race honours went to Karelpiu’s Father-Son pairing Antonio and Giuseppe Schiano, the delighted Italians leading from start-to-finish to take their second win of the year and move into the championship lead. “We are very happy. It was a very tough race especially outside where it was very rough,” said Giuseppe Schiano. “We had great acceleration to lead at the start thanks to the great job my Father did on the throttles.”
After missing the races in Italy Briton’s Ian Blacker and Drew Langdon made an immediate impression on their championship return taking second place ahead of pole-sitter’s Dmitry Vandyshev and Nico Bertels in Bernico New Star. But there was disappointment for defending Champions Aaron Ciantar and Dominique Martini, Chaudron stopping after two laps dropping them to third in the title race behind Bernico New Star.