VICTORY TEAM
NEWS
05/04/2010
Fazza Boats Lead 21-Entry X-Cat Championship
Dubai (UAE): Despite being fourth fastest in testing, reigning world champions Arif Al Zafeen and Nader Bin Hendi will start as favourites when the opening round of the 2010 UIM X-Cat Middle East Powerboat Championship gets underway at Mina Seyahi tomorrow (April 6).

The world's number one powerboat pairing in both Class 1 and Class 3 (Six Litre) will team up again in the all-new Fazza 3 for a two-pronged attack on the title alongside team mates Talib Al Sayed and Abdullah Al Mehairbi in Fazza 33.

But while they come into the event fresh from a double triumph at the opening round of the C1 season in Brazil, Al Zafeen and Bin Hendi will need all their renowned racing skills in what is a brand new boat.

"The boat was completed in November but we have had little time to try her out so we need a lot more testing to get it right," said Bin Hendi, who has switched from Class 1 throttleman to X-Cat driver for the four-races series. "Today we got an idea of how she will go in slightly rougher water so we take some positives from practice."

The Fazza 3 boys were unable to match the unofficial best time of the day - 3m:07.22s set by Al Sayed and Al Mehairbi - and finished the first 90-minute practice session of the championship in the fourth quickest time of 3m:15.00s.

"Racing X-Cats is a completely different challenge but we enjoy it," added Bin Hendi. "There are a lot of excellent young drivers, the engine packages are pretty much the same and it is a good schooling for drivers looking to move into Class 1."

While Bin Hendi and Al Zafeen continue to work on the set up for the new cat, there are no such problems for Al Sayed and Al Mehairbi who are benefiting from a boat that has already shown it can handle the big occasion.

Last summer, Bin Hendi and Al Zafeen piloted the boat (then known as Fazza S3) to three straight wins in the Class 3 (Six Litre) World Championship in Italy. This year and rebranded Fazza 33, the Victory Team-built cat is showing it still has a lot to offer.

In today's practice session, Al Sayed and Al Mehairbi stormed to a fastest lap time more than six seconds quicker than Americans Gary Ballough and Grant Bruggemann in PRO Marine 19 (3m:13.11s) with the Italian duo Alex Barone and Lorenco Bracchi third quickest in BACCHI 28 (3m:14.99s), just 0.01s ahead of Fazza 3.

In all some 21 boats will contest tomorrow's opening round of the series - a thirteen lap 52.38Nm race off the coast of Mina Seyahi - to be followed by round two on Saturday (April 10) at the same venue with rounds three and four in Abu Dhabi on April 26 and 30.
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