At least six teams in the fray for XCAT crown
Victory Team’s Al Adidi feels local knowledge will play crucial role in deciding UIM champion
At least six teams are in contention for the world crown going into the final two races of the 2017 UIM XCAT World Championship that concludes with the Dubai Grand Prix double-header this weekend.
With the final two races to be held off the Mina Seyahi waters near The Palm Jumeirah on Friday and Saturday, the Australian duo of Brett Luhrmann and Pal Virik Nilsen in The Blue Roo are in pole for the crown. But they are surely going to be chased down by the home pairing of Victory Team boat with Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali in second place in Boat No.3 with 137 points and the new combo of Gary Ballough and Ahmad Al Hameli in the second.
In third place is the Abu Dhabi duo of Rashid Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansouri with 116 points with another three teams in close proximity of striking the three boats at the top – the 222 Offshore team of Giovanni Carpitella and Joakim Kumlin along with Erik Stark and Mickael Bengtsson in Swecat and defending champions Arif Al Zafein and Nader Bin Hindi.
“We have a distinct advantage as this is our home grand prix,” Victory Team driver Al Adidi told Gulf News after Wednesday’s free practice session.
“For the past five years it has been a Victory Team boat that has won the world crown. This year too things are not going to be very different as we have a splendid team backing us. We are in it to win it” he added.
This year’s four-round, eight-race calendar was hastily put together by the UIM, the world governing body for the sport, with the first three run back-to-back over three weeks in three separate venues in China in October.
Al Adidi and Al Ali had a dream start while winning both races of the Zhengzhou Grand Prix. However, they took a sixth and second place in the next two races at the Weihai Grand Prix to remain within striking distance of the leaders. Al Adidi and Al Ali won the fourth and fifth spots for Victory in the fifth round, while the sixth round in Xiamen was cancelled due to adverse racing conditions.
“We know what we need to do in our home race,” Al Adidi said.
“We are aware what we need for these last two races where local knowledge of the waters will play an important role. We are ready for this challenge ahead,” he added.
On Thursday, teams will go out for a mandatory 90-minute official practice session, while Friday’s pole position run in the morning will be followed by the first race at 2.30 pm. The second race will be held at the same time on Saturday to see which team finally manages to be crowned the new world champions.
2017 UIM XCAT World Championship – Standings after Race 6 of 8:
1. The Blue Roo (Team Australia) 8 – 148pts;
2. Victory 3 (137);
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 (116);
4. 222 Offshore/Weihai-China/Miphere Xiamen (104);
5. Swecat Racing 2 (85);
6. Al Wasl 7 (81);
7. Fujairah Team 20 (71);
8. Caccia Engineering 22 (63);
9. New Star 9 (51);
10. Raheeb 17 (34);
11. Lady Spain 46 (22)