Brazilian-bred Gloria De Campeao may have won the world's richest horse race - the Dubai World Cup – but in Rio de Janeiro it was Dubai horsepower that dominated the first Class 1 Grand Prix meeting staged on Brazilian waters, fittingly at the Marina da Gloria.
Shrugging off electrical problems that left them racing with virtually no on-board aids, Arif Al Zafeen and Nader Bin Hendi made it two wins from two starts in the Brazilian city on Sunday notching up a second straight win at the opening round of the 2010 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.
The Fazza 3 crew won one of the closest races in recent memory to edge out team-mates Mohammed Al Marri and Abdullah Al Mehairbi in Fazza 1 - making it a second 1-2 finish for the Fazza crews - with Italy's Giampaolo Montavoci claiming an impressive third place alongside F1 Powerboat World Champion Guido Cappellini in DUEMME Foresti & Suardi.
It was a hard-fought win for the defending world champions who won the opening race in Rio on Saturday despite losing power to their dashboard instruments with less just three laps gone. Unable to resolve the problem overnight, Al Zafeen and Bin Hendi went out for Sunday’s eighteen-lap race virtually blind, relying on their racing touch to get them home.
"We were racing from memory," said Bin Hendi. "We had some trim information but nothing like RPM or speed. But it's about teamwork and while it was tougher than the first race we're delighted with the result."
Racing at an average speed of 160.74kmph, Fazza 3 took the chequered flag by just over fourteen seconds from Fazza 1 with Montavoci and Cappellini a further fourteen seconds adrift in third.
At one stage just seven seconds separated the first four boats with the destiny of the title in the balance until late in the race when Fazza 3 piled on the pressure and eased away from the chasing pack.
"We've put a lot of work into the safety aspects of the boat and we've got a lot of confidence in how she handles," said Al Zafeen. "Nader's control of the boat today was exceptional and he really used his head to get us round the course."
Mohammed Al Marri, who admitted to being exhausted after the thrilling race, added: "It's a tight and technical course and I think we showed today that we can get close to Fazza 3 and have a real chance in the championship. It’s been a great start to the season and to have put on an event like this without any Class 1 experience is a tribute to the city of Rio."
While Al Zafeen and Bin Hendi are at the top of the Class 1 tree, the man who rules the F1 Powerboat racing also showed he is no slouch when it comes to the bigger boats.
Ten-time world champion Guido Cappellini returned to a Class 1 cockpit for the first time in more than fifteen years yet he leaves Rio with a fourth and a third place finish to his name and holds third place in the overall world standings.
"No-one in the world could do that except Guido Cappellini," smiled a delighted throttleman Montavoci. "He is a racing genius and it's an honour to compete beside him."
While there were smiles from the Italians, there was no joy for Norwegian duo Jorn Tandberg and Kolbjorn Selmer whose challenge ended almost immediately thanks to a broken compressor belt in Welmax 90 after a sluggish opening lap.
Abu Dhabi's Rashed Al Tayer and Italian Nicola Giorgi claimed fourth spot in Team Abu Dhabi 5, fifth place went to Fabio Magnani and Marco Pennesi in Foresti & Suardi Scam, while sixth place went to Class 1's only lady pilot Marit Stromoy alongside Italy's Giorgio Manuzzi in Welmax Alianza.
The Class 1 fleet now packs up and heads for Europe after a highly successful first ever Grand Prix in Rio with the next date on the calendar the Norwegian Grand Prix in Arendal in July.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - Race 2 Brazilian Grand Prix
1. Fazza 3 - Bin Hendi/Al Zafeen (UAE) 47m:16.14s (160.74kmh)
2. Fazza 1 - Al Marri/Al Mehairbi (UAE) 47m:30.23s (159.95kmh)
3. DUEMME Forest & Suardi - Cappellini/Montavoci (I) 47m:44.14s (159.17kmh)
Overall World Championship Standings After Two Races
1. Fazza 3 - Bin Hendi/Al Zafeen (UAE) 40pts
2. Fazza 1 - Al Marri/Al Mehairbi (UAE) 30
3. DUEMME Forest & Suardi - Cappellini/Montavoci (I) 21
4. Team Abu Dhabi – Al Tayer/Giorgi (UAE/I) 16
5. Welmax 90 – Tandberg/Selmer (Nor) 12
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