Following the most successful – and most traumatic – year in their history, the Dubai Victory Team go into the 2010 season looking to defend the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship title with a two-boat line-up,
The most successful sporting team in the history of Middle East sport, the Victory Team will present a two-crew line up featuring reigning world champions Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi in Fazza 3 with two-time world champion Mohammed Al Marri partnering either Abdullah Al Mehairbi in Fazza 1 with Talib Al Sayed as reserve driver.
The team will launch the defence of all their titles this week at the opening round of the Class World Championship at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on March 26-28.
In 2009, the Class 1 World, European and Middle East Championship titles - as well as the EDOX Pole Position crown - were all won by the Dubai stable, although the clean sweep season was ultimately overshadowed by the tragic loss of Victory pilots Mohammed Al Mehairi and Jean Marc Sanchez at what proved to be the final race of the season in Dubai on December 11.
“To win every title available was a major achievement but it meant nothing when we lost our brothers Mohammed and Jean Marc,” said throttleman Bin Hendi. “They lost their lives doing what they loved and we miss them terribly. You can be sure that every single person working for Fazza 3 and Fazza 1 will be racing in their memory in 2010.”
With both Dubai boats now branded with the name Fazza – a tribute to the team’s chairman HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – it will be the first time since the team entered its debut Class 1 season in 1993 that the Victory name will be missing from the line-up.
“The corporate name of the team is still Victory but we feel it is important to run both boats as Fazza in recognition of the huge support and encouragement we receive from HH Sheikh Hamdan,” said Al Zafeen, who was recently appointed Victory Team Executive Director.
Since running with the name Fazza, the team has collected every Class 1 honour available, while Bin Hendi and Al Zafeen also cleaned up at the Class 3 Six Litre World Championships in Italy last summer.
For the coming season, Bin Hendi and Al Zafeen will compete in the boat that took them to the Class 1 crown in 2009 but have opted to keep the number three as opposed to the number one that is available to the world champions. The honour of racing as Fazza 1 – last year’s Victory 7 - goes to the experienced veteran Al Marri and the charismatic Al Mehairbi, runner-up in his debut Class 1 season while racing with the late Sanchez in 2008.
Following the season opener in South America, the Class 1 fleet will compete in Norway, Sweden, Romania, Italy and UAE capital Abu Dhabi before the final two races of the season in Dubai in December. A reserve date has also been allocated for an eighth venue – Jeddah in Saudi Arabia – in October.
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