Team Abu Dhabi wrapped up their first major powerboat racing title of the season on Sunday. Shaun Torrente, Rashed Al Qemzi, Rashed Al Tayer and Italian Tullio Abbate clinched the World Endurance Championships in Augustów, Poland.
This time the honours on the day went to the all-Emirati crew of Majed Al Mansoori, Mohamed Al Mehairbi, Rashed Al Remeithi and Faleh Al Mansoori. Abu Dhabi 36 who recorded a commanding victory in the second of two back-to-back six-hour races to finish runners up in the series.
But sixth place was enough to ensure American Torrente, Emiratis Al Qemzi and Al Tayer and Italian Tullio in Abu Dhabi 35 secured the world endurance crown following their win 24 hours earlier and success two months ago in the 24 Hours of Rouen in France.
They had looked set to complete the series with a 100 per cent winning record after leading comfortably for more than four hours today before being briefly forced out of the race to make technical modifications.
Having shadowed their team-mates in second place virtually from the start, Abu Dhabi 36 suddenly found themselves with a commanding lead and ultimately cruised to victory by 19 laps from the Navikart Soliodaires French crew of Sebastien Lemoine, Olivier Betin and Stephane Lemoine Russians Konstantin Ustinov and Dimitry Vandyshev and Lithuania’s Edgaras Riabko in Nollet 2 were third another five laps behind.
While these are still early days in the season, the result in Poland underlines the prospect of four world powerboat racing titles ending up at Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.
Ten-times former F1H20 world champion Guido Cappellini, who recently signed a new long-term contract to guide the fortunes of Team Abu Dhabi until 2025, certainly believes the quadruple is possible.
He has already seen reigning world champion Torrente set the pace in this year’s F1H20 series while Rashed Al Qemzi has taken an immediate lead in the UIM F2 championship.
Earlier, on the previous day, Team Abu Dhabi boosted their chances of winning the first world powerboat racing title of the season by dominating the opening leg of the Necko Endurance.
The combination of Shaun Torrente, Emiratis Rashed Al Qemzi and Rashed Al Tayer and Italian Tullio Abbate in Abu Dhabi 35 strengthened their grip on the World Endurance Championships with victory in the first of the weekend’s two back-to-back races.
The result had put them in a commanding position to secure the world endurance crown barring a catastrophic finish on the following or major mistakes in the second six-hour race getting.
With reigning F1H2O world champion Torrente first in action, Abu Dhabi 35 took an immediate lead when the first race got under way as they looked to build on their impressive victory in the 24 Hours of Rouen in France two months ago.
Only briefly did they lose the advantage towards the half way point, firstly to the Navikart Soliodaires French crew of Sebastien Lemoine, Olivier Betin and Stephane Lemoine and then to Russians Konstantin Ustinov and Dimitry Vandyshev and Lithuania’s Edgaras Riabko in Nollet 2.
At this point there was often as little as two seconds separating the leaders, but over the last two hours Abu Dhabi 35 gradually eased away to complete 294 laps by the finish, three more than Nollet 2 in second place and third-placed Navikart Soliodaires. Abu Dhabi 36 finished 276 laps in fourth position.
Torrente, who leads this season’s UIM F1H2O World Championship, heads straight from poland to Stresa, Italy to begin his defence of the UIM XCAT World Championship with Faleh Al Mansoori. Meanwhile Rashed Al Qemzi tops the current F2 standings.
From Poland Cappellini quickly switches focus to the UIM XCAT World Championship in which Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori begin their title defence in Stresa, Italy next weekend.