Dubai: Team Abu Dhabi look bent on adding another crown this season as six-time world champions Victory Team make a guest appearance after a two-year absence in this weekend’s final round of the 2019 UIM XCAT World Championships along the Jumeirah coastline.
Scheduled to be held at Sunset Beach, Jumeirah, from Thursday to Saturday, the racing will see a maximum of 14 boats representing more than 20 nations compete in Dubai.
Things happening off the waters have made this series head towards an exciting end. Defending world champions Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansouri left Shanghai holding a five-point lead over defending champions Arif Al Zafein and Nader Bin Hindi.
However, XCAT Racing penalised the Abu Dhabi duo with a couple of retrospective 30-second time penalties, while reversing an earlier penalty on the defending champions from Dubai Police 3. Team Abu Dhabi have appealed the decision from the organisers, and things should be clear over the weekend.
As it stands, Dubai Police 3 remain in the lead with 143 points, followed by Maritimo (137), Abu Dhabi 4 (136) and Abu Dhabi 5 (113).
“We’ve been busy with our preparations for the F1 race [in Sharjah next weekend]. But this weekend it’s going to be about preparing for the XCATs,” Torrente told Gulf News. “We believe we’ve got a pretty good package and we should be able to wrap up our second world championship. We are convinced we can deliver once again.”
Adding to the excitement further is the Victory Team’s Boat No. 33 led by Class 1 world champions Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali following a two-year absence. “We have to be realistic about our chances this weekend,” Victory Team Manager Luciano Barbati said. “Being away for the past two seasons has not helped, so we will need to have some sort of a starting reference for ourselves to see where exactly we stand in this form of powerboat racing. We have our best boat and our best set of drivers. A podium finish would be a good goal to have.”
There will be a couple of practice sessions on Thursday, followed by the Pole Position run from 9am on Friday. The first Dubai Grand Prix race will be held at 3pm.
Saturday’s schedule will see the second and final leg of the Dubai Grand Prix from 3pm onwards.
1. Dubai Police3 (143 points); 2. Maritimo 12 (137); 3. Team Abu Dhabi4 (136); 4. Team Abu Dhabi5 (113); 5. 222 Offshore 10 (71); 6. HPI Racing Team 96 (64); 7. The Blue Roo 8 (48); 8. New Star Racing 9 (47); 9. Swecat Racing 2 (44); 10. Kuwait 17 (42).