Team Abu Dhabi’s Emirati quartet of Rashid Al-Tayer, Mohammed Al-Mehairbi, Rashid Al-Qamzi and Faleh Al-Mansoori stunned their more experienced rivals to claim a memorable win in the first of two World Endurance Championship races on Augustów’s Necko Lake in northern Poland at the weekend.
Thani Al-Qamzi, double UIM F1 H2O world champion Alex Carella, Majed Al-Mansoori and Italian Tullio Abbate led the opening race before dropping back to fifth place in Team Abu Dhabi 35 after engine issues cost them valuable laps.
The two boats then took part in a second endurance race on Sunday afternoon and Team Abu Dhabi 36 held fourth after three hours, with Team Abu Dhabi 35 down in fifth position. New Star 20 held the lead from Navicart Racing heading into the closing stages.
Winning the first of the races was a great start to the weekend for the entire team and a superb result for Rashid, Mohammed, Rashid and Faleh.The race was close from the start and they all made a superb contribution to a great team effort to take the win.
Said a delighted Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC).
Team Abu Dhabi made the perfect start to the weekend with the 36 crew of Rashid Al-Tayer, Mohammed Al-Mehairbi, Rashid Al-Qamzi and Faleh Al-Mansoori claiming the race win on Saturday afternoon, but it was far from being straightforward.
The New Star 20 crew of Mikhail Kitashev, Konstantin Ustinov and Roman Vandyshev were the leaders of Class 2 after the first hour, with the eventual winners running in third position behind Navikart Racing’s Sébastien and Stéphane Lemoine and Oliver Betin. Team Abu Dhabi 35 was fifth and running five laps behind the leaders.
Navikart Racing gained the upper hand over Team Abu Dhabi 25 after running for 94 laps and two hours. Team Abu Dhabi 36 maintained third and the two New Star boats were fourth and fifth. After three hours and 137 laps of the Necko Lake course, Team Abu Dhabi 35 held the lead from their team-mates and Navikart Racing, but a mere two laps separated the top three boats in what was developing into a thrilling race.
Navikart Racing regained the advantage after four hours and 182 laps and headed into the fifth hour leading Team Abu Dhabi 36 by three laps. Team Abu Dhabi 35 had dropped to fifth position with engine issues and was 11 laps short of the leaders. New Star 22 then snatched the lead heading into the final hour after running for 216 laps. They were a single lap in front of Team Abu Dhabi 36, but 35 trailed in fifth place, only for Team Abu Dhabi 36 to hit the front and claim a stunning win for the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.
Five boats lined up for the green flag for the second of the Class 1 races on Sunday morning and New Star 20 made the best start. They finished the first hour closely followed by Team Abu Dhabi 36, after both boats ran for 40 laps. Team Abu Dhabi 35 was down in fifth.
New Star 20 retained the advantage after two hours and 75 laps and headed into the third hour with a one-lap lead over Navikart Racing. Team Abu Dhabi 36 and Team Abu Dhabi 35 were fourth and fifth, eight and 33 laps behind the leading boat, respectively. Team Abu Dhabi 35 had suffered further technical issues.
After three hours, New Star 20 had completed 111 laps and headed Navicart Racing by just one lap. New Star 22 was third and the two Team Abu Dhabi boats were fourth and fifth, with 36 remaining eight laps adrift and 35 still trailing by 33 tours of the Necko Lake course. The five Class 2 boats held station through the next hour of racing and New Star 20 headed into the fifth hour with a lead of one lap over Navikart Racing.
The Team Abu Dhabi boats remained eight and 33 laps behind and went on to finish the race in third and fifth places, with New Star 20 heading Navikart Racing to the chequered flag.