The pairing of Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali will be wearing the Victory Team colours in a brand-new Victory 3 boat that has been built at the team’s facility in Jebel Ali. Image Credit: Courtesy: Victory Team

Dubai: The Victory Team has reiterated that a single team, instead of the usual two, will be sufficient in defending their world crown when the 2017 UIM Offshore XCAT World Series gets under way in mid-September.

The international governing body of powerboat racing, the Union International Motonautique (UIM) recently announced a tentative five-round calendar for the 2017 UIM Offshore XCAT World Series, including the first three races in various locations in China followed by a couple of rounds in the UAE.

The Victory Team — who have the enviable record of winning the world title on all four occasions since the new class of powerboat racing was first added to the UIM calendar in 2013 — is confident they can clinch a record fifth crown with the winning combination of Eisa Al Ali and Salem Al Adidi in Victory 3.

“This is the best we can do given the late announcement from the UIM regarding a proper racing series for XCAT boats. We had a hunch that an announcement would ultimately be made, and we are more than ready to mount a suitable challenge in defending our world title,” Huraiz Al Mur Mohammad Bin Huraiz, Chairman, Board of Directors at Victory Team, told Gulf News.

“The entire world of sport is undergoing a transition and powerboat racing has also been affected to an extent. But at Victory Team, we believe in pursuing excellence through all that we do, and we are prepared to face any challenge and successfully defend our world status and title with just one boat at our disposal,” he added.

Arif Saif Al Zafein and Nader Bin Hindi hold the distinction of being crowned world champions at the end of all four seasons since XCAT racing was officially organised by the UIM in 2013. However, both contestants have moved on from Victory Team leaving the field open for the promising duo of Al Adidi and Al Ali.

Al Zafein and Bin Hindi won a fourth title when the final round of the 2016 series concluded in Abu Dhabi. The Victory Team duo of Al Zafein and Bin Hindi had 137 points leaving stablemates Dubai 33 — with Al Adidi and Al Ali on board — in second place with 106 points, while Abu Dhabi Team completed a clean sweep for the UAE with third spot with 98 points.

“We have put up the best pair of drivers we have at the moment. We believe they will be hearty competitors to defend the name of Victory Team. In Salem and Eisa we have two drivers who have a good track record in all forms of powerboat racing. They won the last round in Abu Dhabi at the end of last season, and we expect them to take over right from where they left off,” Bin Huraiz said.

“We are here to give this pair of drivers the support and tools they need to bring home a fifth world title. No doubt, it is going to be a tough season ahead, but we believe this pairing can do it,” he added.

The 2017 season will get under way with the opening round in Tianjin from September 15-17 followed by the second round in Haiyang (September 22-24) and the third in Hangzhou (October 20-22) before heading to the UAE.

How they finished

2016: 1. Victory Team 3 (137 pts); 2. Dubai 33 (106); 3. Abu Dhabi Team 5 (98); 4. Swecat Racing (83); 5. Gold Coast Australia (82).

2015: 1. XDubai 3 (180 pts); 2. Abu Dhabi Team 5 (166); 3. Six 6 (126); 4. T-Bone Station 10 (122); 5. Swecat Racing 2 (101).

2014: 1. Fazza 3 (1,600 pts); 2. Dubai 7 (1,189); 3. T-Bone Station 10 (747); 4. Videx 22 (615); 5. Hoorsebuhs 6 (606).

2013: 1. Fazza 3 (1,901 pts); 2. Sky Dive Dubai 7 (1,431); 3. Mouawad 50 (1,385); 4. Victory Team 33 (1,103); 5. Six 6 (1,031).