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Bin Hendi, Al-Zafeen Class I champs
Alan EWans
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 05 - 10 - 2010

STRESA, Italy: Defending World Champions Nader Bin Hendi and Arif Al-Zafeen of the UAE are the new Class 1 European Powerboat Champions after a flawless wire-to-wire victory at the Italian Grand Prix in Stresa.
The Emiratis went into the 64.82Nm race with a narrow one-point lead over their nearest title challengers but left them trailing in their wake by storming from pole position to the chequered flag at an average speed of 188.90kmph in what were grim racing conditions.
Battling low visibility and fog on the course, Bin Hendi and Al-Zafeen won in a time of 39m:31.29s and fifteen seconds ahead of a titanic fight for second place ultimately won by Italian racing legend Guido Cappellini and Swiss co-pilot Marcello Menegatto just two seconds ahead of the Skydive Dubai pairing of Talib Al-Sayed and Abdullah Al-Mehairbi.
“That completes the set,” grinned a delighted Bin Hendi after lifting the first European title of his Class 1 career to add to his Middle East and World crowns. “We've been fighting a long time to win this so I'm relieved it's finally in the bag. We had a big lead of over a minute at one stage and eased off the throttles. It allowed the others to catch up but we didn't feel threatened.”
While it was an imperious run by the new European Champions, it was a tricky day at the office for Al-Sayed and Al-Mehairbi who would surely have wrapped up second place had they not accrued long lap penalties for missing turn buoys.
However, from a lowly fifth place they fought back magnificently, even stealing third place from Welmax pair Jorn Tandberg and Kolbjorn Selmer less than 100 meters from the finish line. For half the race it looked as if Rashed Al-Tayer from Abu Dhabi and his US throttleman and former world champion John Tomlinson would claim second place in Team Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately, a blown motor put paid to their chances at the start of the ninth lap.
Also suffering technical problems were Giovanni Carpitella and Chris Parsonage in Negotiator who bowed out of the race on the 13th lap while holding fifth place – a result that ended their faint hopes of taking the European crown from Bin Hendi and Al


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