Team Abu Dhabi, Victory Team excel in Italy
Dubai: Team Abu Dhabi and Victory kept the UAE flag flying high at the 2018 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship being held in Gallipoli, Italy, this weekend.
Leading the UAE’s charge was talented Austrian rider Kevin Reiterer as he logged in his first-ever win for Victory Team in the Ski GP1 class, while Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Mulla won the top honours in the Freestyle category in the opening race of the 2018 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship in Gallipoli late on Saturday.
Starting from third place on the grid, Reiterer — who turns 26 in August — trailed Mickael Poret at the start, but did well to hit his best form as the race progressed to win by 6.44 seconds, leaving French rider Raphael Maurin in second and defending champion Quinten Bossche of Belgium, in third, for a Kawasaki lock-out of the top three positions.
“I was certainly not expecting this in my first-ever race for Victory,” Reiterer told Gulf News from Gallipoli.
“I was off to a great start and cruising throughout. The main thing was to keep the focus and not allow any of the other challengers to get past me. I was using my back-up bike, but I suppose it was best suited for the water conditions here. So this is a great result for my team and now on it is all about continuing this run,” he added.
With the world-famous Florjancic brothers from Slovenia, Rok and Nac, not confirming their entry in Italy, it was all down to Al Mulla and the UAE rider did not disappoint as he came up with an amazing display to outdo world number one Roberto Mariani and fellow Italian Alberto Camerlengo, Paulo Nunes of Portugal and Alexander Kuramshin to finish at the top.
A second competitive heat was slated on Sunday followed by another practice session before the start of a string of second races from 16.30 hours (3.30 pm UAE) till later in the evening.