Abu Dhabi take advantage in day of drama at Swedish GP

The new pairing take their first Class 1 victory after the Fazza 3 Dubai pair of Nader bin Hendi and Arif al Zafeen crash out.

Fazza 3, the championship leaders, suffered a spectacular crash at the Swedish Grand Prix in Uddevalla yesterday.
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UDDEVALLA, SWEDEN // The UAE's Rashid al Tayer and Giovanni Carpitella, his Italian throttleman, clinched the first Class 1 win of their careers yesterday as Team Abu Dhabi took the chequered flag in the opening race of an incident-packed Swedish Grand Prix. But there was drama for the Dubai pair of Nader bin Hendi and Arif al Zafeen whose eight-race winning streak in Fazza 3 ended in spectacular fashion when they crashed into the side of Relekta, the Norwegian entry.

"On the second restart, we came to the first turn behind Team Abu Dhabi and went to go on the inside," said Bin Hendi. "Relekta came round on the outside, spun into our way and we couldn't avoid them. We hit them on the rear of the boat and just took off through the spray - we couldn't see anything. Fortunately we are all OK but the boat needs a lot of work done to get it ready to race again." The pair now face a race against time to get their boat ready for the second race of the Swedish Grand Prix today. Starting their first race together, Al Tayer and Carpitella took advantage after race favourites Fazza 3 and pole position winners Welmax both crashed out in separate incidents that saw the race re-started twice.

They stormed home in a race reduced to just nine laps and 47.14 nautical miles. Skydive Dubai's Talib El Sayed and Abdullah al Mehairbi claimed second place, just over seven seconds adrift. "I'm delighted to have won - it's the first Class 1 win for Abu Dhabi but I hope it will be the first of many," said Al Tayer, after his first competitive drive in the Dubai Victory Team-built boat. "It's our first race together and I'm very happy with the boat and my friend Giovanni - he is a very good throttleman. It was very difficult to concentrate with all the restarts but we're happy with second place as Team Abu Dhabi were just too good today. Talib and I are still learning together but we ran well and we can really push on from here."

In the second crash of the day, Norway's Jorn Tandberg and Kolbjorn Selmer barrel-rolled out of the race on the first lap, an incident that forced a restart and all but ended the scarlet cat's world championship ambitions. After starting on pole position, it was a miserable day for Tandberg and Selmer whose race lasted less than a mile before Welmax ended upside down. "We were racing behind Fazza when we turned but all I saw after that was a lot of water and that was that," a philosophical Tandberg said.

* Agency