Dubai: Teams from the UAE maintained the pressure on leaders The Blue Roo at the end of the Weihai Grand Prix — the fourth race of the eight-round 2017 UIM XCAT World Championship held on the Nanhai New District Bay, on Sunday.
Starting from sixth place on the grid, Dubai’s Victory Team of Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali pushed till the very end to finish second best in Sunday’s race, while Team Abu Dhabi slipped down into fifth, but still maintained pressure on the overall leaders Brett Luhrmann and Pal Virik Nilsen in The Blue Roo.
Run under hazy conditions on the Yellow River, Sunday’s race was thrilling with Al Adidi and Al Eisa pushing their way to the front of the pack in their Victory Team boat and put pressure on The Blue Roo. In the end, Al Adidi and Al Eisa could not get past Luhrmann and Nilsen as the Aussie-Norwegian pair kept their cool to take maximum points for the second time this season, while five-time defending world champions Arif Saif Al Zafein and Nader Bin Hindi completed the podium spots in their boat, Al Wasl leaving Weihai-China in fourth and Team Abu Dhabi in fifth.
“This was perhaps the toughest race of the four we have competed this season,” Al Adidi told Gulf News from Weihai.
“To start off in sixth place and make our way into catching up with the leaders was not an easy task. But we have a fantastic technical team backing us and that made all the difference in the end. Maybe we could have even overtaken them [The Blue Roo] if we had another lap or two to compete,” he added.
Al Adidi and Al Ali had made a strong start to the season winning both the races in Zhengzhou last weekend. However, going into the third race in Weihai on Saturday with a lead of 10 points over Team Abu Dhabi, the team from Dubai lost out on a podium after being slapped with a mandatory long lap.
But they came right back with a second place on Sunday leaving themselves just three points behind overall leaders The Blue Roo (118 points), while Team Abu Dhabi is in third overall with 104 points. “Overall this has been an extremely satisfying race and we are thrilled we could come up with such a strong finish and keep the pressure on for the world title,” Al Adidi said.
“This wasn’t the result we wanted to be honest,” said Team Abu Dhabi’s Al Tayer.
“I guess it was important to put as many points on the board as we could in a difficult race and make sure that there was no damage on the boat before next weekend. It’s still very close at the top of the points’ tables and it’s going to be exciting,” he added.
The eleven participating boats will now travel to Hangzhou for the next two races of the championship from October 27-29.
Weihai Grand Prix – Race Four of 2017 UIM XCAT Word Championship
1. The Blue Roo (Brett Luhrmann (Australia)/Pål Virik Nilsen (Norway) 42min 03.28secs; 2. Victory (Salem Al Adidi (UAE)/Eisa Al Ali (UAE) +25.70secs; 3. Al Wasl (Arif Saif Al Zafein (UAE)/Nader Bin Hindi (UAE) +26.84secs; 4. Weihai-China (Giovanni Carpitella (Italy)/Darren Nicholson (Australia) +1min 15.49secs; 5. Team Abu Dhabi (Rashid Al Tayer (UAE)/Majid Al Mansouri (UAE) +1min 33.69secs; 6. Swecat Racing (Mikael Bengtsson (Sweden)/Erik Stark (Sweden) +1min 47.09sec; 7. New Star (Mikhail Kitashev (Russia)/Dmitry Vandyshev (Russia) +2min 26.40sec; 8. Fujairah Team (Serafino Barlesi (Italy)/Alessandro Barone (Italy) 1 lap behind; 9. Caccia Engineering (Diego Testa (Italy)/Daniele Martignoni (Italy) 1 lap behind; 10. Raheeb (Abdul Latif Al Omani (Kuwait)/Mustafa Al Dashti (Kuwait) 1 lap behind; 11. Lady Spain (Roberto Lo Piano (Italy)/Andrea Comello (Italy) 1 lap behind.
Overall standings at the end of the Weihai Grand Prix – Race Four of the 2017 UIM XCAT World Championship held in Weihai, China, on Sunday: 1. The Blue Roo (Team Australia) (118pts); 2. Victory Team (115); 3. Team Abu Dhabi (104); 4. 222 Offshore/Weihai-China (86); 5. Fujairah Team (61); 6. Swecat Racing (59); 7. Caccia Engineering (56); 8. Al Wasl (46); 9. New Star (43); 10. Raheeb (28); 11. Lady Spain (14).