Dubai: Dubai Police emerged as the new UIM XCAT world champions despite a winning finish to the season by Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori in the Dubai Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Emirati crew of Abu Dhabi 5 produced a flawless performance in race two of Dubai’s championship grand finale to beat the Dubai Police combination of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi by a margin of 18 seconds.
There were some tense moments for Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi both before and during the 18-lap race, before they came through to take the XCAT world title by a margin of 13pts over the Abu Dhabi 5 duo.
Al Tayer later said: “The race was very good for us. We started first and saved the boat until the end, and we’re very happy with the win. We’re second in the world championship this time, but next year we want to go one better.”
Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori, the 2018 world champions in Abu Dhabi 4, showed their class by claiming the other podium place to secure third position in this year’s shortened XCAT World Championship.
The battle for the world title had taken a dramatic twist during the earlier pole position qualifying session, when the Dubai Police boat’s steering hose broke as they prepared to start their first of two laps. Loss of steering and oil spillage forced Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi to return to the pontoon for the problem to be fixed, and after returning to the course they clocked the fastest lap.
As repairs are not permitted once a session has begun, this led to their inevitable disqualification, dropping them to the back of the 12-boat race starting line-up, as Abu Dhabi 5 secured pole position.
Knowing a fifth place finish would still be enough to give them the title, but that a single mistake could see it snatched away, Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi held their nerve and gradually climbed through the field to take second place.
UIM XCAT World Championship final standings
1. Dubai Police (UAE) Arif Al Zaffain/Nadir Bin Hendi- 156pts
2. Abu Dhabi 5 (UAE) Rashed Al Tayer/Majed Al Mansoori- 143pts
3. Abu Dhabi 4 (UAE) Shaun Torrente/Faleh Al Mansoori - 109 pts
4. Six (MC) Tomaso Polli/Matteo Nicolini92 pts
5. Victory Team (UAE) Erik Stark/Mohamed Alyammahi- 82pts