Dubai: UAE riders will be hoping to shake off the rust heading into the Grand Prix of Qingdao, the third round of the 2019 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship to be held in the port city in China.
Team Abu Dhabi’s reigning world freestyle champion Rashid Al Mulla will be heading into Round Three with a 12-point lead over Italian Roberto Mariani, while teammate Rashid Al Tayer chases down leader Marcus Jorgensen in an attempt to cut off the two-point deficit separating the two riders. Jorgensen has 71 points, while Al Tayer is hot on his heels with 69 points in the Runabout GP1 category.
Also in the fray for top honours is Victory Team’s Kevin Reiterer as the 26-year-old rider from Austria seeks to put the finishing touches on a third world crown in the Ski Division GP1 class.
“It has been a long time off for most of us heading into China. But I hope to re-discover my form and return for the last round in Sharjah with a third world title,” Reiterer told Gulf News.
“I have been blessed to have everything working in my favour so far. I hope I can re-discover the same touch and do well in the China round so that the pressure can be off from my back with one final round still to go,” he added.
Al Tayer too was left mulling his chances. “I said before the start of the season that my target is to win the world title, and that hasn’t changed a bit,” Al Tayer said.
“No doubt, it’s going to be tough. But, I know I showed in Portugal that I can take a Grand Prix and I know what I need to do to win again in China,” he added.
Completing the Team Abu Dhabi challenge in China is Salman Al Awadhi who returns to action in the Ski Division GP1 after finishing runner-up in the Runabout GP2 championship in Portugal, in June.
UIM-ABP World Championship Standings
(Runabout GP1) 1. Marcus Jorgensen (71pts); 2. Rashid Al Tayer (69); 3. Andrezej Wisniewski (69); 4. Jeremy Perez (65); 5. Anton Pankratov (61).
(Freestyle) 1. Rashid Al Mulla (100pts); 2. Roberto Mariani (88); 3. Sergey Chemezov (71); 3. Niels Willems (71); 5, Jaroslav Tirner (70).
(Ski Division GP1) 1. Kevin Reiterer (147pts); 2. Daniel Svae Andersen (94); 3. Barnabas Szabo (89); 4. Axel Courtois (87); 5. Anders Keller (82).