Team Abu Dhabi duo plan fight to the finish as Dubai Police extend lead in XCAT title race
Fujairah: Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori say they will not give up the fight for the UIM XCAT World Championship after Dubai Police won the Fujairah Grand Prix to grab a major advantage in the title race.
The Dubai Police combination of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi powered their way to a 11.77 secs third race victory from Tomaso Polli and Matteo Nicolini in Six, opening up a 13-point championship lead from Al Tayer and Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 5.
The result makes Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi strong favourites to capture the XCAT world crown on home waters in next weekend’s decisive Dubai Grand Prix, although their closest rivals, who finished third on the day, will battle all the way to the finish.
“It’s not over yet,” said Al Tayer. “We have a lot of ground to make up and Arif and Nadir are working well together so they will be very difficult to catch.
“We wanted to take pole position today to give us our best chance in the race, and that’s what we’ll be aiming for again in Dubai. We’ll give it everything we’ve got.”
Mountain to climb
After finishing second and fourth in the previous two back-to-back races held off Fujairah International Marine Club, Al Tayer and Al Mansoori were given a virtual mountain to climb after qualifying fifth in today’s pole position qualifier.
Polli and Nicolini claimed pole position ahead of Dubai Police, but Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi came through for the race victory as Abu Dhabi 5 climbed into a podium place to finish runners up in the Fujairah Grand Prix.
Team-mates Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori, race winners 48 hours earlier in Abu Dhabi 5, began the day well by setting the fastest time in official practice.
The 2018 world champions had to settle for third place in qualifying however, and fourth position in Race 3 leaves them also fourth in the championship, but determined to round off this year’s shortened XCAT season with a big finish in Dubai.
2. Six (MC) Tomaso Polli/Matteo Nicolini 44.27.70
3. Abu Dhabi 5 (UAE) Rashed Al Tayer/Majed Al Mansoori 44.43.25
4. Abu Dhabi 4 (UAE) Shaun Torrente/Faleh Al Mansoori 44.50.60
5. New Star (RU) Mikhail Kitashev/Dmitry Vandyshev 45.22.30
6. Victory Team (UAE) Erik Stark/Mohamed Alyammahi 45.28.90
7. Foresti E Suardi (IT) Roberto Lo Piano/Giampaolo Montavoci 45.53.68
8. Pasta Amato (IT) Alfredo Amato/Saul Bubacco 46.36.57
9. Kuwait (KW) Abdullatif Al Omani/Moustafa Al Dashti 46.42.03
10. Team GB (UK) Scott Williams/Martin Campbell 46.59.05
UIM XCAT World Championship standings
1. Dubai Police (UAE) Arif Al Zaffain/Nadir Bin Hendi 91pts
2. Abu Dhabi 5 (UAE) Rashed Al Tayer/Majed Al Mansoori 78pts
3. Six (MC) Tomaso Polli/Matteo Nicolini 74pts
4. Abu Dhabi 4 (UAE) Shaun Torrente/Faleh Al Mansoori 57pts
5. Victory Team (UAE) Erik Stark/Mohamed Alyammahi 52pts
6. New Star (RU) Mikhail Kitashev/Dmitry Vandyshev 48pts
7. 222 Offshore (IT/AU) Giovanni Carpitella/Darren Nicholson 47pts
8. Pasta Amato (IT) Alfredo Amato/Saul Bubacco 29pts
9. HPI Racing Team (IT) Rosario Schiano Di Cola/G.S. Di Cola 23pts
10. Foresti E Suardi (IT) Roberto Lo Piano/Giampaolo Montavoci 22pts