Nadir Bin Hendi and Arif Al Zaffain have steered themselves to a favourable position to win the world championship. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Dubai Police overcame Team Abu Dhabi’s spirited challenge to take a step closer to 2021 UIM XCAT World Championship in race one of the Dubai Grand Prix on Friday.

Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 5 made a brave bid to keep their title hopes alive, leading from pole position for half of the 18 laps before the Dubai Police combination of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi powered their way through.

Winning by 26 seconds from Abu Dhabi 5, Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi carry an 18-point lead into Saturday afternoon’s final race of the season and are poised to be crowned champions barring a dramatic and unforeseen climax.

Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori, the 2018 world champions in Abu Dhabi 4, finished third to raise hopes that Team Abu Dhabi could claim two of the three final podium positions.

After an impressive performance 24 hours earlier to secure pole position, Al Tayer and Al Mansoori made the ideal start to this year’s penultimate Grand Prix race and appeared to have it under control on a glorious day for elite XCAT powerboat racing. It was until they went wide into the final turn on the 3.56 nautical mile course and the Dubai Police crew surged through on the inside to take a decisive lead, which they never looked like conceding over the nine remaining laps.

“Things started well, but they (Dubai Police) used a bigger prop which gave them more speed, and they had a good long lap strategy,” said Al Tayer. “For us now, the aim is to go for pole position tomorrow and then try and win the race. We’ll fight to the finish”

Finishing eighth and ninth on the day respectively, Victory Team’s Erik Stark and Mohamed Alyammah, and the 222 Offshore crew of Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson, both collected 60 secs time penalties for infringements at the start.

UIM XCAT World Championship standings

1. Dubai Police (UAE) Arif Al Zaffain/Nadir Bin Hendi - 126pts

2. Abu Dhabi 5 (UAE) Rashed Al Tayer/Majed Al Mansoori - 108pts

3. Six (MC) Tomaso Polli/Matteo Nicolini - 92pts

4. Abu Dhabi 4 (UAE) Shaun Torrente/Faleh Al Mansoori- 83pts

5. New Star (RU) Mikhail Kitashev/Dmitry Vandyshev - 63pts

6. Victory Team (UAE) Erik Stark/Mohamed Alyammahi-62pts

7. 222 Offshore (IT/AU) Giovanni Carpitella/Darren Nicholson-55pts

8. HPI Racing Team (IT) Rosario Schiano Di Cola/G.S. Di Cola-45pts

9. Foresti E Suardi (IT) Roberto Lo Piano/Giampaolo Montavoci-34pts

10. Pasta Amato (IT) Alfredo Amato/Saul Bubacco- 29pts