Dubai: Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Mulla and Victory Team’s Kevin Reiterer remained within a whisker of yet another world title at the end of the Grand Prix of Qingdao — Round Three on the 2019 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship on Sunday.
Winner of the world crown in his Ski GP1 Class in 2015 and 2018, Reiterer made a clean sweep winning all three motos in China over the weekend to take his tally to 222 points — 74 points ahead of second-placed Daniel Svae Andersen of Norway and 89 points clear of third-placed Barnabas Szabo of Hungary.
Defending champion in the Freestyle, Al Mulla also won his second moto of the weekend to take his tally up to a maximum 150 from six motos to all but seal another world crown. His teammate Rashid Al Tayer continued his chase for a maiden Runabout GP1 world title after keeping his third position overall.
Riding under perfect weather conditions, the 26-year-old Austrian was once smooth off pole position to power his way to the top of the chasing field. The challenge for the top spot this time came from Stian Schjetlein and an ever-improving Ulrik Berntsen as pressure kept on growing for the second and third places overall.
Reiterer’s maximum 75 points from three motos takes his overall tally to 222 points, leaving Andersen in second with 148 points, while Szabo is in third with 133, Stian Schjetlein and Ander Keller joint fourth with an identical 125 points, closely followed by Frenchman Axel Courtois (122 points) and Berntsen (102).
“I am super happy with the results this weekend and it is all due to the efforts put in by the team led by Chris [Wilkinson],” Reiterer told Gulf News from Qingdao.
“We don’t want to jump the gun and celebrate a world title just yet as we may still need another two or three points to the total before being confirmed as world champions. I think this is best for us all as we will be able to get these points need on our home waters in Sharjah.”
The fourth and final round of the 2019 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship will be the Sharjah Grand Prix to be held along the Buhairah Corniche in Sharjah in the third week of December. “Everything has been as per plans this season, and even the lengthy summer break didn’t affect our performance. We will be back in Dubai later this week where we plan to go ahead with our training schedule and attend to other team commitments,” Reiterer said. “Technically, I will need to finish in top 15 in one the motos in Sharjah. But for the time-being we can leave that calculation for a later date. I am extremely happy for this moment.”
Meanwhile, Japan’s Hajime Isahai threw the Runabout GP1 Class wide open with an outright win to leave Poland’s Andrzej Wisnieski, Kuwait’s Yousuf Abdul Razzaq and Team Abu Dhabi’s Al Tayer all within striking distance of the world title. Wisnieski came in third behind Isahai and defending champion Jeremy Perez of France to take his tally to 104 points, chased down by Al Tayer and Abdul Razzaq with an identical 97 points, while Marcus Jorgensen and Samuel Johansson are tied fourth with 93 each.
The next challenge before the teams will be on the home waters of Sharjah when the Sharjah Grand Prix is held to host the traditional final round of the F1H2O World Championship from December 18-21.