The new Victory Team pairing of Salem Al Adidi (right) and Eisa Al Ali (left) with Huraiz Al Mur Mohammad Bin Huraiz. The new team has been testing in Jebel Ali during the summer months in an attempt to successfully defend their world crown. Image Credit: Courtesy: Victory Team

Dubai: The Victory Team combination of Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali say they are prepared to rise up to any challenge thrown at them as they get set for an exciting start to the 2017 UIM Offshore XCAT World Series from the middle of September.

The Dubai-based operation announced a lone boat entry for the season headed by driver Al Adidi and co-driver Al Ali, starting off with the opening round of the series in Tianjin, China from September 15-17.

The Victory Team duo of Arif Saif Al Zafein and Nader Bin Hindi won the world crown on all the previous four occasions since this new class of powerboat racing was first officially introduced in the UIM calendar through the World Professional Powerboat Association (WPPA) in 2013.

However, both world champions have parted ways and the Victory Team management led by Huraiz Al Mur Mohammad Bin Huraiz has entrusted the responsibility of defending the world title to Al Adidi and Al Ali during the 2017 season.

“Our task is simple. We need to keep Victory Team right at the top because this is a position that the team has been used to since we entered the world of powerboat racing. Victory Team enters each and every race in order to win it. We are not going to be mere competitors for sure,” Al Adidi told Gulf News at the team’s headquarters in Jebel Ali.

“This is a team with huge expectations and we hope to continue from where we left off from last season. I know it is never going to be an easy task, but we feel sufficiently empowered with a management to back us and a technical team led by Luciano [Barbati] that has proved to be the best in the business,” the driver added.

Al Adidi and Al Ali won last year’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but that helped them finish as overall runners-up in the series to complete a one-two for Victory Team. Al Zafein and Bin Hindi finished with 137 points, while Al Adidi and Al Ali’s Dubai 33 came in second best with 106 points, while Abu Dhabi Team ended third with 98 points.

“The challenges are going to be bigger this season for sure. I can already foresee so many teams getting ready to challenge for the title, including Team Abu Dhabi, the boats from Australia and Italy. All of them have been working hard during the off-season, but at Victory Team we have been working harder simply because we need to keep our position at the top,” Al Ali noted.

Asked if a single boat could be an impediment while defending their world crown, the Victory Team co-driver said: “Yes, it’s always easier for any team to have two boats in each race. But this year we’ve had a short perior to prepare for the season and our mindset is that we ought to finish the task of regaining the world title with what we have at our disposal.”