Dubai: The Victory Team pairing of Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali are not leaving anything to chance as they brace for the Weihai Grand Prix — the second round on the 2017 UIM XCAT World Championship this weekend.
Last week’s inaugural race of the season witnessed a tussle between multiple world champions Victory Team and strong challengers Team Abu Dhabi. Ultimately, it was Victory Team’s Al Adidi and Al Ali who won both races and gained a ten-point advantage over their friends from Team Abu Dhabi, Rashid Al Tayer and Majid Al Mansouri.
The Victory Team duo are at the top of the overall standings with 70 points, followed in second place by Team Abu Dhabi with 60 points and Australian Brett Luhrmann and Norway’s Pal Virik Nilsen in third a further 22 points behind for The Blue Roo team. Caccia Engineering, 222 Offshore and the Fujairah Team are the next three teams with 38, 34 and 33 points respectively to round off the top six places in the standings.
“We are aware that there are a few teams here who would want to be in the position that we are in at the moment,” Al Adidi told Gulf News from China.
“And while our friends from Team Abu Dhabi will be the front-runners throughout the season, there will be other boats who will be pushing hard to get past us. But they can expect a fight from us to keep the top position. We have been working hard to be where we are and with the backing of the technical crew we can only get better.
“Team Abu Dhabi is doing well and we are happy for them. We have a good gap of 10 points and that gives us a sense of comfort. They have to push, while we need to just maintain what we have done in the first two races. We have to complete what we have started. They will have to give more than us if they want to finish clear of us.”
Both races on Saturday and Sunday will take place in Nanhai New District Bay and offer the first offshore challenge of this year’s series after the opening two races took place on an inland lake in Zhengzhou. The qualifying session will be split into three sessions with all 11 boats allowed to take to the water for the opening session. The third and final session will pit the fastest three boats, with the topper earning the right to start in pole.
Weihai is a city in China’s eastern province of Shandong and acts as a major seaport and it borders Yantai to the west and the Yellow Sea to the east. Formerly known as Weihaiwei, it was established in 1949 after the Communist revolution and acts as a major fishing centre and trading hub with its close proximity to South Korea.
The weekend’s formalities got under way with technical scrutineering, registration and team briefings on Thursday and will be followed by the on-course action with official practice from 9.30am UAE time on Friday.
Pole Position qualifying takes centre stage at 6am UAE time on Saturday and the first of the two Weihai races begins at 10am (UAE). An additional free practice is permitted on Sunday morning followed by the second race at 10am (UAE).