FROM LEFT: QMSF’s Sami Abu Shaikha, Sheikh Nawaf bin Hassan Al Thani, Sheikh Jassim bin Jabor bin Yousef Al Thani and Heat 1B winner Jon Zimmerman pose for a picture in Doha yesterday. PICTURE BY: BILL OSBORNE
DOHA: U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto’s Steve David and U-9 Jones Racing’s Jon Zimmerman snatched victories in the first pair of heats at the 2013 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship in Doha Bay yesterday.
Nine of the fastest drivers on the planet used day one of the Oryx Cup for testing and qualifying before the first pair of racing heats took place in perfect weather conditions in front of a healthy number of spectators, who enjoyed the excellent on-site facilities and the high-speed action.
David, the defending National High Points champion, fended off a fierce challenge from January’s Oryx Cup winner Jimmy Shane in U-5 Graham Trucking to take victory in heat 1A.
“That was a fantastic start for us,” said David, yesterday.
“We had about 4.8 per cent more power than we had in the Oryx Cup final. That doesn’t sound a lot but it makes a difference with these turbine boats. The fuel flow was perfect and legal. We had a lot more time to get the perfect set-up. It’s a long weekend ahead, but I am delighted with the start we have made,” he added.
Jon Zimmerman held off a fierce challenge from U-95 Spirit of Qatar’s Kip Brown and J. Michael Kelly in U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing to secure the win in heat 1B.
The three drivers produced a scintillating spectacle in the setting sun on Doha Bay, but Zimmerman held on in U-9 Jones Racing to take the 400 points and Kelly inherited second when Brown was forced to run a penalty lap for cutting the final turn in front of Kelly.
“I’ve got a very talented crew and they have worked really hard to get us into this position,” said a delighted Zimmerman. “I made a good start, worked well and got the result we wanted.”
David had set the fastest lap in the early afternoon qualifying session, in which the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto driver claimed 100 qualifying points ahead of runner-up Kip Brown and third-placed Jimmy Shane.
Brown had been the first driver out on the water in U-95 Spirit of Qatar and ran superbly well on his team debut, his times peaking with a second of three laps in excess of 142mph.
Zimmerman was forced to run a second set of laps at the end of the session after a fuel violation and a lost propeller cost him his initial opportunity to qualify U-9 Jones Racing.
The Oryx Cup UIM World Championship is being organised by the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) in conjunction with H1 Unlimited.
The QMSF runs under the presidency of Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani.