DUBAI // Delma Marine flourished in the perfect conditions at Dubai International Marine Club yesterday to win a thrilling race, their second victory in as many heats of the Dubai Wooden Powerboat Championships. Drivers Ahmed Ali Jabir Hamli and Ahmed Ateeq al Qumzi finished a good eight seconds ahead of the Extreme Marine pairof Salim Fadhel al Hamli and Ahmed Mohd Hassan al Suwaidi. Driven by Khalifa Humaid bin Thaiban and Ahmed Humaid bin Thaiban, Al Fajr Marine were a close third.
"It was close and we had to push really hard to keep our lead," said Ahmed Ali Jabir Hamli of Delma Marine. "The new rules are working well, the course length is better and the turns make the race not just about speed but more about technique as well. I know the next round will be tough in Abu Dhabi." The top three boats took an early and convincing lead as they stretched away from the rest of the fleet, widening the gap on each lap and finishing almost half a lap in front of Al Haj Group, who came fourth driven by Hassan Ali al Shamsi and Khalid Saif al Shamsi.
For the next places there was a fierce battle between Al Noubi Racing, Al Malek and Raheeb 1 with a dash at the end where Raheeb 1 scooped fifth, Al Malek sixth and Al Noubi Racing had to settle for seventh. Organisers were pleased that the race went so smoothly after the first heat was stopped briefly on the second lap, as there was a man overboard. "We've softened the turns by making them wider and shortened the straight sections of the course to control the speed," said Sid Bensalah, the general secretary of the World Professional Powerboating Association. "The nature of the new course also means that rescue cover is deployed more efficiently."
The next heat is on April 25 at the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sailing Club. * Agency