Powerboating - XCat Abu Dhabi
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Shaun Torrente with Technical Manager Talib Al Sayed at the venue. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: The battle for the 2021 UIM XCAT World Championship heads for a grand finale in this weekend’s Dubai Grand Prix, with Team Abu Dhabi putting their full weight behind a major title push by Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori.

The Emirati pair in Abu Dhabi 5 trail championship leaders Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi in Dubai Police by 13 points ahead of the back-to-back Grand Prix races on Friday and Saturday which will decide this year’s shortened XCAT series.

While the odds are stacked in favour of Dubai Police following their overall victory in last weekend’s Fujairah Grand Prix, Team Abu Dhabi are working round the clock to give Al Tayer and Al Mansoori an advantage in Thursday’s crucial pole position showdown.

With their own title hopes disrupted by a first race engine failure in Fujairah, 2018 champions Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 4 also want a big finish to add to their fightback race victory last Thursday.

“From our point of view, we just need to go out to win races,” said Torrente. “As far as Abu Dhabi Five are concerned, they’ve been consistent and running well, and they’re within striking distance of the lead.

Working hard

“We’ve been working hard on their boat to try to improve it. Our sole focus has been to put them in a position to get race wins, and take the fight to Dubai police.”

Added Torrente: “I was proud of the way we fought back in Fujairah to win race two. In the third race, I just didn’t get the start right, so now we’ve got an uphill battle.”

The first target in Dubai for Abu Dhabi 4 is to close the gap on third-placed Tomaso Polli and Matteo Nicolini in Six (MC), and hope that their teammates can do the same to pile the pressure on Dubai Police.

That could set the stage for a dramatic final race of the season on Saturday, with all three championship podium positions hanging in the balance.

Organised by Dubai International Marine Club, the Dubai Grand Prix takes place at Sunset Beach. The XCATS action begins with free practice at 1 pm on Wednesday with an official practice session starting at 10.30 the following morning.

UIM XCAT World Championship standings

1. Dubai Police (UAE) Arif Al Zaffain/Nadir Bin Hendi 91pts

2. Abu Dhabi 5 (UAE) Rashed Al Tayer/Majed Al Mansoori 78pts

3. Six (MC) Tomaso Polli/Matteo Nicolini 74pts

4. Abu Dhabi 4 (UAE) Shaun Torrente/Faleh Al Mansoori 57pts

5. Victory Team (UAE) Erik Stark/Mohamed Alyammahi 52pts