KOTAKINABALU: Favourite Colin Jelf won the UIM F2000 World Cup Powerboat 2007 race in Sabah and with it. the top position in the overall standings, but there was gloom in the Jelf Racing Team as brother. Owen found himself disqualified. An irregularity iu carburettor size in Owen's boat did him in and it cost the Briton dearly as he lost not only second spot in the final Sabah leg held at the Waterfront yesterday (Monday) morning, but he also dropped two spots in the overall standings. The most fortunate pilot was Norway's Rick Ivar Haakonsen who almost did not start the race when his boat crashed in the race on Sunday, as he finished behind the Jelf brothers, but moved up to runner-up position after Owen's disqualification.
Head of State. Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah gave away the prizes to the winners. At a press conference after the prize presentation. Colin told reporters it was a very hard race and that he was very happy to have emerged winner. "For me the qualifying was perfect to get into pole position and yesterday's race was very hard for me because my aim was to win the world championship." he said. "My aim was to stay the right way up which was very difficult. Luckily that all changed today (Monday) as the conditions were far more favourable for our set-up and with the pole position I managed to get round the first lap in the lead. "And with my brother in second he was pushing me hard. I just had the edge today and with the pace boat sini-ation I thought he may have a chance to jump me on the restart, but I got into the first comer and that gave me the advantage to carry on." said Colin.
Rick, who finished second said he had a very good start but he was really lucky with this race after the accident he had on Sunday. "We worked hard all night to finish the boat and get it into racing condition. This (third) place (at time of press conference Rick did not know he had been pushed up due to Owen's disqualification) was actually more than what I expected." he said.
Rick congratulated the Jelf brothers saying they were the ones to watch for the new (2008) season. "This third place is like a win for me though." he added. Following Owen's disqualification. Uvis Slakteris of Latvia finished third in the Sabah race. But Uvis was neither happy nor proud of his new positioning. "I feel sorry for Owen, and I would rather be third by finishing third in the race proper rather than this way." he said.
Meanwhile. UIM Commissioner Gordon Sutherland said as called for under the UIM race rules, a technical inspection was earned out after the race, "as we are very strict on these matters."
"Among others, we have to ship the engines, check die gearbox for irregularities etc."
"In boat no 3. it was discovered that that one of the two head gaskets was made of a thinner material than that of the standard one." said Sutherland. "The normal standard is 1.45mm but in the case of boat no 3. we found that one gasket was of the specified size while the other was only limn thick." He added: "In the performance point of view, it does make a difference, although slight. Having a thinner gasket head would make the engine crispier but it does give the boat an edge. "It was a mistake on the part of the crew to have fitted on the wrong-sized gaskets. It was a wrong choice by the Jelf team and it cost them dearly. "Rules are rules and we had to make the unfortunate decision to disqualify boat number three (3) winch was piloted by Owen Jelf of Great Britain.