Thursday, 29 March, KHOR FAKKAN (Sharjah, UAE): Team Qatar and Team UAE shared the spoils taking a top spot apiece in today’s official qualifying session and Match Race on a day of drama on Khor Fakkan Bay which saw Brazil’s Lebos Chaguri and Brunei’s Nordin bin Hj Mohammed collide and crash out in the morning session.
The two Middle East rivals dominated activities, locking out the top three places in qualifying with all four of their drivers getting through to the semi-finals of the Match Race and force a Qatar – UAE showdown in the final.
In qualifying it was Qatar’s Khalid Al Shamlan who stole through to win an interrupted qualifying session by less than 2/10ths of a second to put Team Qatar in pole position for race 1 of UIM Nations Cup, Khor Fakkan.
Al Shamlan and Team UAE’s Majed al Mansoori traded times and places during the morning qualifying session with Al Shamlan snatching the pole from provisional pole sitter, Mansoori, setting a time of 48.92secs around the 1639 metre circuit - just moments before the yellow flag came out with just over 10 minutes of the session to run.
Mansoori’s teammate Rashed Al Tayer had to overcome a strong challenge from Finland’s Risto Painio - the pair swapping times in the early part of qualifying - with Al Tayer holding out to take third spot, posting a time of 50.37secs.
Painio came under pressure and was bumped down to fifth spot after a late charge by Rhys Coles, who was drafted in to run in Team Brazil’s number two boat. Ismail bin Hj Kabon completed the top six for Team Brunei.
With Team Hungary unable to make it to Khor Fakkan and Brazil and Brunei each a boat and driver down for the Match Race, the top four in qualifying, Al Shamlan, Mansoori, Al Tayer and Coles automatically qualified for the quarter-finals.
In the top half of the draw, Al Shamlan’s route to the final saw him take out Malaysia’s Mohammad Kadri and the UAE’s Rashed Al Tayer in the semi-final, whilst Al Mansoori disposed of South Africa’s Timothy Fetherstonhaugh and Qatar’s Khalid Al Kuwari, setting up a final shoot-out between the two fastest men on the day, with Mansoori taking the final with two straight wins - Al Tayer taking third spot after beating Al Kuwari.
In qualifying Ismail bin Hj Kabon gave Team Brunei something to smile about posting a top-six time, with the Kadri brothers continuing their solid Nations Cup debuts with Alffian posting the seventh fastest time in qualifying and both getting through to the quarter finals of the Match Race to put Team Malaysia third in the points table.
Frustrations continued to build for Team South Africa with Fetherstonhaugh unable to find the pace he showed in yesterday’s practice sessions and Mark Shepherd finding even less, with what he considers an underpowered engine – but the duo did enough to end the day in fourth place overall with 27 points.
Today’s results give Team UAE the upper hand in the points’ standings going into tomorrow’s sprint races, and top the table with 45 points - 15 points clear of rivals Qatar.
Friday, 30 March
13.30-14.30 free practice
16.30 parade lap
16.40-17.00 UIM Nations Cup Khor Fakkan – race 1
17.15-17.35 UIM Nations Cup Khor Fakkan – race 2