Torrente, Al Mansoori denied by late show after setting the pace as new Class 3 championship begins
Abu Dhabi, UAE, 7th December, 2023: Team Abu Dhabi were denied pole position today for the opening round of the new UAE Class-3 Offshore Powerboat Championship as Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi in Fazza produced a late show in Khor Fakkan.
Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 4 led for much of the qualifying session before Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi, who had made a slow start after missing official practice, came through with the fastest time by just 0.252 secs.
Sharjah Team’s Konstantin Ustinov and Dmitry Vandyshev were third quickest in near perfect conditions ahead of Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 5, and Kuwait’s Bader al Dousari and Abdullatif Al Omani in Raheeb17.
The event is being staged as part of the Khor Fakkan Marine Festival by Sharjah International Marine Sports Club, who had earlier announced a reduced schedule, with a single race taking place tomorrow afternoon.
With Team Abu Dhabi battling on two fronts this weekend, Torrente will now be replaced in Khor Fakkan by Emirati driver Mohammed Al Matlae, with Al Mansoori switching to throttleman in Abu Dhabi 4.
This will allow three-time champion Torrente to switch to free practice for the Grand Prix of Sharjah, Sunday’s final round of the F1H2O world championship on Khalid Lagoon.
The 2018, 2019 and 2022 F1H2O champion wants to round off a tough season with a Grand Prix win in Sharjah where he clinched each of his three world titles, while Team Abu Dhabi still have a slim mathematical chance of retaining the team crown.
Eager to add to their run of powerboat victories with an opening win in the new Class 3 championship, meanwhile, the team spent the summer making major modifications to Abu Dhabi 5 to improve its performance.
No changes were made to Abu Dhabi 4 because none were felt necessary, and there was little between the two boats for most of today’s official Class 3 practice session.
Both took turns in setting the pace, before Torrente and Al Mansoori used their experience to set the fastest time from their team-mates in Abu Dhabi 5.