Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansouri won in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Image Credit: Team Abu Dhabi

Dubai: Defending world champions Team Abu Dhabi 4 will go head-to-head with Maritimo and former champions Dubai Police 3 heading into Saturday’s second and final race of the Dubai Grand Prix for the 2019 UIM XCAT World Championships at Jumeirah’s Sunset Beach.

The Team Abu Dhabi 4 pairing of Faleh Al Mansouri and Shaun Torrente won an exciting opening race on Friday evening as strong challengers Dubai Police 3 with Arif Al Zafein and Nader Bin Hindi faded away with the final lap remaining to throw open the fight for top honours.

Torrente and Al Mansouri finished 19.81 seconds clear from pole-sitters Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton in Maritimo, while the Team Abu Dhabi 5 duo of Rashid Al Tayer and Majid Al Mansouri finished a further 32.2 seconds behind to deny pre-race leaders Dubai Police 3 a place on the podium as they limped into fourth with an engine issue.

The outright win put Torrente and Al Mansouri at the top of the overall standings with 171 points leaving Maritimo in second with 167 points, while Dubai Police 3 slipped into third although with a chance of claiming another world crown, with 165. Team Abu Dhabi 5 may still have an outside chance at the world title as they lurk around in fourth overall with 139 points after Friday’s race.

“Everything went as per our plans. We wanted this win badly to get the points and ensure we are there for another world crown when the curtains come down on Saturday,” Torrente told Gulf News.

“We’ve got everything to fight for tomorrow, and it’s not going to be any different as we go all out once again and win this one too on Saturday.”

Barry-Cotter, who passed Team Abu Dhabi 5 and Dubai Police 3 on the very final lap, was relieved to keep their world championships hopes alive. “This was probably the hardest race as I thought we didn’t have the power for the first four or five laps. But once we got our power back we were able to catch up with the rest of the boats in front,” the Australian said.

RESULTS (top 5)

1. Team Abu Dhabi 4 (Shaun Torrente/Faleh Al Mansouri)

2. Maritimo (Tom Barry-Cotter/Ross Willaton)

3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 (Rashid Al Tayer/Majid Al Mansouri)

4. Dubai Police 3 (Arif Al Zafein/Nader Bin Hindi)

5. 222 Offshore (Giovanni Carpitella/Darren Nicholson)