Saturday, December 9: Emirati driver Ahmad Al-Fahim and his Swedish team-mate Erik Stark looked to have given the Dubai-based Victory Team a 1-2 finish in a spectacular Sprint Race B at the Road to Sharjah-Grand Prix of Sharjah on Saturday afternoon.
But the Emirati was dramatically disqualified from the racing weekend for dangerous driving after his part in the accident that brought the race to a sudden halt on the opening lap. He and Stark were deemed to have moved across the racing line heading into turn four and it left the three-time World Champion Shaun Torrente of Team Abu Dhabi nowhere to go. He duly crashed violently into the rear of Mad Croc Gillman Racing’s Filip Roms and the impact badly damaged both boats with Torrente taken to hospital for medical checks. With Al-Fahim given a red card and Stark handed a yellow, it meant that the Swede was deemed the winner. Al-Fahim has protested the decision.
Al-Fahim had held off Stark when racing resumed after the accident and the former off-road rally driver reached the chequered flag 3.868 seconds in front to give him a major confidence boost heading into ‘Showdown Sunday’ on Khalid Lagoon. But delight turned to frustration after the race when the red card was applied.
China CTIC Team’s Peter Morin finished second, Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qemzi moved up to third and the F1 Atlantic Team’s Duarte Benavente managed to squeeze past Marit Strømøy’s four-stroke V8-engined boat to claim fourth. Alberto Comparato rounded off the finishers in sixth.
Boats that had qualified in second, third, sixth, seventh, 10th, 11th, 14th, 15th, 18th and 19th lined up for Sprint race B. Kalle Viippo dropped to the rear of the field after sustaining boat damage and then failed to start, while Comparato changed his engine and slipped back to ninth, with Torrente on pole from Al-Fahim and Stark.
The race was yellow-flagged almost immediately after pole-sitter Torrente was pinched by Al-Fahim. He then collided at speed with the rear of Filip Roms’s boat, his new DAC was launched into the air and ended up inverted in the water with the Finn’s boat sustaining substantial rear damage. Osprey Rescue were quickly on the scene with Roms transported back to the pits and Torrente taken swiftly for medical checks.
Racing resumed on lap seven and the Victory Team duo of Al-Fahim and Stark held the advantage from Morin. Strømøy slipped behind both Al-Qemzi and Benavente into sixth, as the race headed into the remaining five laps.
Al-Fahim managed to hold off his team-mate to snatch the win, with Morin, Al-Qemzi and Benavente rounding off the top five after the Portuguese veteran passed Strømøy late on. It was a short time later when the red and yellow cards were applied for the Victory Team duo..