Dubai: Team Maritimo capped a perfect season with a double at the Dubai Grand Prix — the final stop on the 2019 UIM XCAT World Championships — at Jumeirah’s Sunset Beach on Saturday.
Going head-to-head for the world crown against former champions Arif Al Zafein and Nader Bin Hindi in Dubai Police 3 and reigning world champions Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansouri, Australians Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton came up with their best showing ever to guide Maritimo to a maiden world title.
Earlier in the week, the team from Gold Coast, Australia had claimed the world pole position title after earning the right to start the race at the top of the pack.
Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), was joined by Mohammad Hareb, CEO, DIMC and Huraiz Bin Huraiz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Victory Team in awarding the winners at the end of the race.
There were all the elements of a thriller in the second and final race of the season with the fight for the world title turning into a three-boat battle. One of the contenders — Team Abu Dhabi 4 — hit a buoy at the start and had to go in for an extra long lap nearly ending any hopes of defending their title in the bargain.
Maritimo kept a steady course and eventually managed to slip past Rashid Al Tayer and Majid Al Mansouri in Team Abu Dhabi 5 and never looked behind. Dubai Police and De Mitri went in for their two mandatory long laps early while slipping into eighth and ninth behind the Victory 33 pairing of Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali even as Abu Dhabi 4 and Maritimo tussled to gain control at the top of the pack.
Midway through the race, it looked like Maritimo had their job cut out as Barry-Cotter and Willaton went on improving to eventually finish 34.8 seconds clear of Team Abu Dhabi 5, while Al Zafein and Bin Hindi brought in Dubai Police 3 in third as defending world champions Team Abu Dhabi 4 were fourth and Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson in 222 Offshore, in fifth.
“They were the faster ones today and they deserved to win,” Torrente said of the new world champions.
“We tried our best out there, but that extra mandatory long lap for hitting a buoy cost us in the end. That’s the way things go and we need to accept it,” the American added.
Barry-Cotter, who has been racing with the experienced Willaton due to the illness of his long-time friend Pal Virik-Nielsen, was thrilled with his first world crown. “This is an incredible moment for us all,” the Gold Coast native said.
“I am just so happy for myself and for the 300-odd staff who have worked hard to ensure we can be here in a couple of years,” the Australian added.
Race Two of the Dubai Grand Prix — final round of the 2019 UIM XCAT World Championships that concluded at Sunset Beach, Jumeirah, on Saturday: 1. Maritimo (Tom Barry-Cotter/Ross Willaton); 2. Team Abu Dhabi 5 (Rashid Al Tayer/Majid Al Mansouri); 3. Dubai Police 3 (Arif Al Zafein/Nader Bin Hindi); 4. Team Abu Dhabi 4 (Shaun Torrente/Faleh Al Mansouri); 5. 222 Offhsore (Giovanni Carpitella/Darren Nicholson); 6. HPI Racing Team (Rosario Schiano Di Cola/Giuseppe Schiano Di Cola); 7. Victory Team (Salem Al Adidi/Eisa Al Ali); 8. Kuwait (Abdul Latif Al Omani/Moustafa Al Dashti); 9. De Mitri (Roberto Lo Piano/Maurizio Carando); 10. Videx (Alfredo Amato/Saul Bubacco).
Overall standings at the end of the final round of the 2019 UIM XCAT World Championships that concluded in Dubai on Saturday: 1. Maritimo (202 points); 2. Abu Dhabi 4 (193); 3. Dubai Police 3 (191); 4. Abu Dhabi 5 (169); 5. 222 Offshore (107).