ABU DHABI //Rashid al Tayer, the home favourite, and John Tomlinson of Team Abu Dhabi upstaged the world champions Nader bin Hendi and Arifa al Zafeen yesterday to win the first leg of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - the penultimate race weekend of the UIM Class 1 World Championship.
The Team Abu Dhabi pair took the chequered flag by more than 37 seconds at the end of the 100km race. Finishing second were Mohammed al Marri of the UAE and Italy's Giorgio Manuzzi in Victory 2010.
Negotiator's Giovanni Carpitella and Class 1 rookie Luca Formilli Fendi were third, another 30 seconds adrift.
Bin Hendi and al Zafeen, the Dubai-born drivers, seemed to have the race under control in their boat Fazza 3 before pulling up with electrical failure on the 11th lap of the 12-lap race. The Victory Team-run Fazza crew are well on the way to retaining their Class 1 title, but for once they were left helpless as their rivals from Team Abu Dhabi swept past their stricken boat.
The boats return today with a practice session in the morning followed by the second race.
Team Driver Time
1. Abu Dhabi Al Tayer 31.44.59
2. Victory Al Marri +37.94
3. Negotiator Carpitella +1.07.41
Venue: Abu Dhabi Marina