12:01 PM Sat 15 Oct 2011 GMT
Italian Grand Prix, the third round of the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship and the title decider for the European Championship, is currently underway in Cernobbio.
Victory's Arif Al Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi will start race one of the Italian Grand Prix in pole position after blitzing the opposition in qualifying, with a trio of Middle East boats dominating the session.
The defending World Champions left their rivals in their wake, posting the fastest time of 2mins 49.73secs around the 4.51Nm on their first lap of the one-and-half-hour session, going four seconds quicker than Spirit of Qatar 95.
Today's top spot in qualifying, the second of the year for Al Zafeen and Bin Hendi, puts the Emirati duo 13-points clear in the Edox Pole Position Championship with just one round to go in Dubai in December.
For the third consecutive time this season Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini outpaced their teammates Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis, the two-second gap putting the Spirit of Qatar 95 crew in the all-important first group for the run to the first turn.
Third quickest and backing up yesterday's impressive time in practice was Team Abu Dhabi's rookie pairing of Majed Al Mansoori and F1 H2O star, Ahmed Al Hameli, setting their best time on their opening lap and putting them third overall in the points table.
Local hero Guido Cappellini with Giampaolo Montavoci left it very late, in what Cappellini described as a frustrating session, before producing their best time of the weekend to put Poliform into fourth spot on the start line and claim the bragging rights as the top Italian outfit and V8 runner.
After an equally frustrating qualifying for Spirit of Qatar 96, managing only fifth fastest and breaking an engine, Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis now face a mountainous task if they are to hold on to their lead in the European Championship with their arch-rivals Victory starting from pole.
Welmax's all-Norwegian pairing of Bjorge Jacobsen and Kurt Olsen, racing together for the first time, produced a very credible performance to complete the top six.
1. 3 Victory - A Al Zafeen (UAE) / N Bin Hendi (UAE) - 02.49,73
2. 95 Spirit of Qatar - A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) - 02.53,76
3. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - A Al Hameli (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) - 02.54,01
4. 74 Poliform - G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) - 02.55,03
5. 96 Spirit of Qatar - H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) - 02.55,31
6. 90 Welmax - B Jacobsen (NOR) / K Olsen (NOR) - 02.59,62
7. 10 Fendi Racing - L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) - 02.59,73
8. 91 Relekta - U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) - 03.01,10
9. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - F Hemelaer (BEL) / L Nicolini (ITA) - 06.18,14
-. 18 MITI Tech Power - S Sardelli (ITA) / N Giorgi (ITA) - dns
Edox Pole Position Championship - after round 3
1. 3 Victory Team - 55pts 2. 95 Spirit of Qatar - 42pts 3. 5 Team Abu Dhabi - 39pts 4. 96 Spirit of Qatar - 23pts 5. 10 Fendi Racing 18pts 6. 90 Welmax - 13pts 7. 74 Poliform - 11pts 8. 91 Relekta - 10pts 9. 18 MITI Tech Power - 5pts 10. 69 firskfisken.no - 4pts 11. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI - 2pts 12. 50 Parsonage Racing - 1pt
UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship website
by Nigel Quilter