Dubai: Reigning world champions Team Abu Dhabi are eager to brush aside all distractions and defend their world crown heading into the Dubai Grand Prix — the third and final stop on the 2019 UIM XCAT World Powerboating Championship — this weekend.
Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansouri head out on Jumeirah’s Sunset Beach this weekend chasing down former champions Dubai Police 3 with Arif Al Zafein and Nader Bin Hindi on board. A win in the last two races will ensure a keen finish in the overall standings.
“We just need to win both and I think we have the package to achieve this goal,” Torrente told Gulf News.
“We didn’t go out for the practice sessions today as we didn’t feel the need to push the boat or alter the set-up. We are perfectly happy with the way we have been doing, and the next two days should see us at our best out there.”
Former champions Al Zafein and Bin Hindi in Dubai Police 3, who are currently at the top of the standings, are feeling equally confident. “It’s a question of time for us. We need to go out on the water and be at our best,” Al Zafein said.
Also joining the fray are Class 1 world champions Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali in their Victory 3 boat. “We need to see where we stand this weekend so that we can be fully prepared for the start of next season,” Al Adidi said.
Race organisers XCAT Racing had penalised Team Abu Dhabi with a couple of 30-second time penalties for buoy infringements, while reversing an earlier penalty on defending champions Dubai Police 3. Team Abu Dhabi had their appeal turned down by organisers late on Thursday leaving a status quo on the standings going into the final two races of the season.
Dubai Police 3 are in the lead with 143 points with Shanghai Grand Prix champions Maritimo (137) in second, followed by the two boats from the Team Abu Dhabi stable — Abu Dhabi 4 (136) and Abu Dhabi 5 (113).
The Pole Position run is at 9am on Friday and the first Dubai Grand Prix race from 3pm. Saturday’s schedule will commence with official practice at 10am followed by the second and final leg of the Dubai Grand Prix from 3pm onwards.