Tragedy casts shadow over inaugural Gabon Grand-Prix

Tragedy casts shadow over inaugural Gabon Grand-Prix

14.07.2012: Victory 3 handed race win in tragic circumstances; Team Abu Dhabi in third Team Abu Dhabi qualify second and hold similar position in Edox Pole Position



                     Victory 3 handed race win in tragic circumstances; Team Abu Dhabi in third

                     Team Abu Dhabi qualify second and hold similar position in Edox Pole Position


 
Tragedy cast a shadow over the inaugural Gabon Grand Prix, round two of the 2012 UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship, when English pilot William Nocker succumbed to injuries sustained in a crash on lap four of the first of two races on Friday afternoon.


Nocker and team-mate Kurt Olsen were transferred to the nearby Omar Bongo Ondimba Military Hospital in Libreville, where Olsen remains in a critical condition. The race on the Gabon Estuary was red-flagged immediately to allow medical personnel to attend to the Welmax Offshore Racing crew and, as a mark of respect to the pilots and their families, event organisers cancelled Saturday’s second race and all event activities.


Victory 3’s Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Mohammed Al-Marri were leading at the time of the accident, from Fendi Racing’s Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella. Team Abu Dhabi held third and the Emirati duo were eventually awarded 12 points, which lifted them to second in the championship – 10 points behind Victory 3.


Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al-Tayer and throttleman Majed Al-Mansoori had qualified in third position for the race behind Al-Zafeen and Al-Marri in Victory 3 and Fendi Racing, but the latter crew was disqualified from Pole Position before the race started for a weight infringement and Team Abu Dhabi had moved up to second place in the line-up before the tragedy struck on lap four.
 

The Abu Dhabi team’s Class 1 challenge has been boosted by the news that Etihad Airways is now the official carrier of the Class 1 Team Abu Dhabi, which runs under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC). Salem Al-Romaithi acts as the head of operations with the team running under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan.
 

Edox Pole Position
 


Team Abu Dhabi qualified in second position for Friday afternoon’s race with a quickest lap of 3m 14.89s and that was sufficient to push them up to second overall in the Edox Pole Position Championship standings behind pole winners Victory 3. Fendi Racing had qualified second with a time of 3m 12.04s but were later disqualified for a weight infringement, as Victory’s first lap of 3m 08.39s stole the show. Only five of the eight boats recorded a time.
 

“We were quite satisfied with our performance. The circuit is quite okay, but conditions are changeable on all parts of the course and it was quite rough in some places,” said Al-Tayer. “We may add some more weight for the race. It is not just about power here.”
 

Fendi Racing ran for two laps and was quickest in the first official practice session on the Gabon Estuary with a best lap of 3m 14.74s. Only six boats ran during the two-hour stint and Team Abu Dhabi recorded just one lap of 3m 20.72s to slot into fourth behind Victory 3 and Spirit of Gabon.
 

Khalid Al Saadi-

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/tragedy-gabon-grand-prix-uim-powerboat-william-nocker-succumbed-injuries---101406.html

14.07.2012 / MaP

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