Abu Dhabi: Team Abu Dhabi stayed firmly on course to land their first world powerboat racing title of the season on Saturday by dominating the opening leg of the Necko Endurance race in Augustow, Poland.

The combination of Shaun Torrente, Emiratis Rashed Al Qamzi and Rashid Al Tayer and Italian Tullio Abbate in Abu Dhabi 35 strengthened their grip on the World Endurance Championships with victory in the first of the weekend’s two back-to-back races.

The result puts them in a commanding position to secure the world endurance crown if they can avoid any mechanical failures or major mistakes in the second six-hour race getting under way at 11am local time on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a fourth-place finish on the Necko Lake means the all-Emirati crew of Majid Al Mansouri, Mohammad Al Muhairbi, Rashed Al Rumaithi and Faleh Al Mansouri in Abu Dhabi 36 can take third overall in the championship with a similar performance on Sunday.

With reigning F1H2O world champion Torrente first in action, Abu Dhabi 35 took an immediate lead when the first race got under way as they looked to build on their impressive victory in the 24 Hours of Rouen in France two months ago. Only briefly did they lose the advantage towards the halfway point, firstly to the Navikart Soliodaires French crew of Sebastien Lemoine, Olivier Betin and Stephane Lemoine and then to Russians Konstantin Ustinov and Dimitry Vandyshev and Lithuania’s Edgaras Riabko in Nollet 2.