Dubai: Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Tayer is confident of carrying his winning form forward after emerging as one of the early contenders in the Runabout GP1 category at the 2019 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship.

After the new season opened in the Algarve region of Portimao in Portugal last week, Round Two will move to Olbia, Italy from May 31 to June 2 with Al Tayer focused on the task at hand following his tied joint position at the top of the standings in the blue-riband Runabout GP1 class.

The Team Abu Dhabi is currently tied at the top of the Runabout GP1 standings with Frenchman Jemery Perez with 47 points, while Sweden’s Samuel Johansson is in third with 40. “I was very well prepared for the start of the season in Portugal and knew I had a very good chance of winning. My team did a great job in preparing my jet ski and the engine was perfect, so I was very confident,” Al Tayer told Gulf News.

“I made a very good start in the first moto to take the lead, but then made some mistakes in allowing myself to be held up by some of the back markers. That allowed Jeremy to get back at me and go on to win. But I learnt from that mistake in moto 2 and got through the back markers much better and that made all the difference,” he reflected.

However, after last week’s opener in Portugal the Team Abu Dhabi rider has made some changes to the ski. “I’m confident this will improve its performance, make it run better in Italy, and give me a good chance to win again,” Al Tayer said.

The rider, who also does a lot of powerboat racing, is aware how tough things can get while coping with the various genres of the sport. And the key, he feels, is supreme physical fitness. “Although the performance of the jet ski is always the key to success, it’s very important that I’m in top physical condition. We are basically continuing all the hard physical and technical work that we did in the build-up to the new season. It’s because of this that I expected to win in Portugal,” he related.

“Preparing is one thing, but it’s also vital that I keep the engine in good shape and don’t push too much early on. I have to keep it running well to the end of the race and can’t afford to get carried away and damage the engine,” he added.

The lead at the top alongside a tricky Perez makes the second round equally important. “Italy is very important for me after the win in Portugal. I’ve set the standard and must keep the momentum going and aim for another win to keep me on course for the world championship. I’ve got a great team behind me and I’m very grateful to them and everyone at the ADIMSC for all the support they’re giving me,” he said.

“To begin with I wasn’t sure about the slalom, but I realised that my bike is very strong and capable of the kind of performance that’s needed so I entered and won. It was a nice bonus,” Al Tayer added.

Standings of the Runabout GP1 World Championship: 1. Rashid Al Tayer (UAE) 47pts; 1. Jeremy Perez (France) 47; 3. Samuel Johansson (Sweden) 40; 4. Andrezej Wisniewski (Poland); 5. Christophe Agostinho (Portugal) 31; 6. Marcus Jorgensen (DK) 29; 7. Anton Pankratov (EE) 27; 8. Johan Johansson (Sweden) 24; 9. Patrick Agostinho (21); 10. Lino Araujo (Portugal) 19.