Dubai: Two teams from the UAE will be looking to consolidate their positions as the watersport season commences with the opening round of the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship in Kuwait this weekend.
Team Abu Dhabi will be represented strongly by new recruit and three-time Ski Ladies GP1 world champion Emma-Nellie Ortendahl alongside Rashid Al Tayer, Salman Al Awadhi and Rashid Al Mulla while Dubai’s Victory Team will have Ali Al Langawi and Kevin Reiterer flying the team flag.
Offered a debut for Team Abu Dhabi at the end of the season-ending Grand Prix of Sharjah in December, Ortendahl hopes to bank on her superior experience making her Team Abu Dhabi debut in Kuwait.
Al Mulla will be aiming to recover from a pre-season shoulder injury to begin the defence of his freestyle title. World champion for the last two years following 10 Grand Prix victories in succession, Al Mulla will head into Thursday’s official practice at the Grand Prix of Kuwait uncertain of whether he will be able to contest the first moto the following day.
Kevin Reiterer and Ali Al Langawi will be among the first for world champions Victory Team as they open their campaign for the 2020 season. Three-time world champion Reiterer from Austria – who signed off with a second successive world with the Victory Team last season - will go all out in his quest for the Ski GP1 category.
For the last two seasons, the Reiterer-Chris Wilkinson combination has been amazing for the men in blue with the young Austrian winning all but two of the 19 motos, and six out of the seven Grand Prix that he has raced in. Embarking on a fresh campaign, Reiterer will have to be wary of challengers such as Daniel Svae Andersson, Stian Schjetlein, Ulrik Bernsten, Barnabas Szanbo and Axel Courtois.
Joining Reiterer to have a double shot at glory will be Al Langawi - proud winner of a gold and silver medal during the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia – as he lines his debut in the Runabout GP1 category.
While Team Abu Dhabi enjoyed one of their best seasons last year, Dubai-based Victory Team has undergone a change following their merger with Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) in November 2019.
Organisers have lined up a pretty ambitious calendar for participants of the 2020 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship. After this weekend’s action in Kuwait, the racers will tackle rounds in Portimao (Portugal), China and the season finale in Sharjah in the second half of December.