Shanghai (China): Team Abu Dhabi began their campaign at the UIM XCAT World Championship in sensational style, by sealing victory and third overall in the first race, at the Shanghai Grand Prix on Dishui Lake on Saturday.
However, a 30-second penalty imposed after the race by race officials for striking a turn buoy cost Team Abu Dhabi 5 the win and handed victory to Team Australia’s Blue Roo and sent Team Abu Dhabi 4 into second position.
The two boats running out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) qualified in second and fourth places for the first of the two Shanghai races.
Team Abu Dhabi 5’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majid Al Mansouri made two superb starts in the red-flag interrupted race to reach the chequered flag well ahead of Team Australia’s Blue Roo crew of Pål-Virik Nilsen and Jan Trygve Braaten.
The UAE pair sealed what looked like a first win of the season until the time penalty was imposed. The punishment dropped them to fourth place.
Team Abu Dhabi 4’s Shaun Torrente and Emirati Faleh Al Mansouri had qualified in second and were also running strongly in the first part of the race.
When the series leading Dubai Police crew of Nadir Bin Hendi and Arif Saif Al Zafeen retired with technical issues after the second start, they carried out their own long lap strategy successfully and reached the chequered flag in third position and moved up to second place in the championship standings behind their Dubai rivals.
With the time penalties for their teammates, Torrente and Faleh Al Mansouri were handed second place in the final results.
“We passed a lot of boats in the last five laps. When the crash happened (Videx 22) we had not done our long laps and we had to really push at the end. It was a huge day for us in the points. Our team-mates were also very fast. They just made the one mistake that cost them the win. We needed a day like this with Dubai Police not scoring so many points and that was thrown the championship wide open,” Faleh Al Mansouri.
HPI 96’s Francois Pinelli and Giuseppe Schiano Di Cola finished third and the Kuwait crew of Abdullatef Al Omani and Moustafa Al Dashti rounded off the top five behind Team Abu Dhabi 5.