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Oryx Cup action on Doha Bay, yesterday. Florida’s Steve David claimed the 2012 H1 Unlimited National High Points Championship during a dramatic racing action at the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship on Doha yesterday. PICTURES BY: SALIM MATRAMKOT
DOHA: Florida’s Steve David claimed the 2012 H1 Unlimited National High Points Championship during a dramatic afternoon’s racing at the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship on Doha Bay yesterday.
The threat of strong winds over the weekend forced race organisers to transform the timetable for the final round of the 2012 Air National Guard H1 Unlimited Championship.
H1 Unlimited and Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) officials sensibly decided to completely amend the schedule and the majority of the on-course action took place yesterday.
After a permitted testing slot on the Doha Bay course off the Doha Corniche, crews carried out their qualifying session yesterday morning and heats one, two and three took place in the afternoon session.
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto’s Steve David had come into the Oryx Cup weekend leading the National High Points championship by 652 points from U-1 Spirit of Qatar’s
Dave Villwock but the U-1 driver reduced David’s lead to 632 points by setting the fastest time in qualifying.
But a dramatic Villwock disqualification from victory in Heat 1A for a fuel flow violation and a win for David in Heat 1B pushed the latter into a 1012-point advantage heading into the second heats.
The duo were drawn apart again in those three-lap races and David had one hand firmly on the trophy when Villwock was disqualified from Heat 2A for hitting several turn buoys that left the U-1 boat with a damaged front wing and a devastated Villwock’s chances of reaching the Oryx Cup final hanging by a thread.
David sealed the coup de grace in Heat 2B by finishing first overall and that gave him an unassailable advantage in the National High Points standings, as Villwock’s attention turned to trying to qualify for the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship final shoot-out over the weekend. Steve David and Jimmy Shane won Heats 3A and 3B in failing light, but Villwock was unable to start the third heat.
“The National High Points Championship means a lot to me and it is a great feeling to win it back whatever the circumstances,” said David. “A win is a win.”
“Congratulations to Steve David and his team on the championship title here,” said Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani, president of the QMSF.
“We have had a thrilling day’s racing and, as long as the weather is kind to us, we can look forward to two more exciting heats today and the Oryx Cup final tomorrow.”
Jimmy Shane made the best start in Heat 1A and looked to have the race in his hand after the first few turns, but Villwock began to reel him in as the race progressed.
The U-1 Spirit of Qatar driver seized his opportunity to storm through and take the lead, with Jon Zimmerman, Kip Brown and J Michael Kelly following in their rooster tails.
Race officials deemed that Shane had jumped the start and the U-5 driver was forced to run an extra lap, his problems promoting Zimmerman to second position.
But Villwock and Brown were dramatically disqualified from the heat for fuel flow violations and Zimmerman confirmed his first ever heat win. The final timetable for today and tomorrow will be weather dependent, with heats 4A and 4B and the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship set to be scheduled over the next two days assuming that the strong winds forecast to hit Doha Bay are not too severe.THE PENINSULA