Victory Team to the fore in China
The Dubai-based Victory Team dominated the first round of the 2017 UIM XCAT World Powerboating Series with a powerful finish at the Zhengzhou Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Victory Team pair of Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali completed the 14-lap race on the waters of the Long Hu Dragon Lake in Zhengzhou in a time of 32 minutes, 35.68 seconds to leave fellow emirati Rashid Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori in second place.
So strong was the Victory Team finish that Al Adidi and Al Eisa finished 23.49 seconds clear of the Team Abu Dhabi duo who had in fact ended overall runners-up in the teams’ standings last season.
The Victory Team has undoubtedly been among the most consistent set-ups in XCAT powerboat racing after winning all five world crowns since this new class of racing was launched in 2012.
And while the men in blue led from the start, a stiff battle ensued for the second spot behind them with Team Abu Dhabi staying clear of another two teams – Caccia Engineering of Italy and The Blue Roo from Australia.
With the race dragging on, all three boats fought hard and ultimately it was Team Abu Dhabi’s Al Tayer and Al Mansoori finishing in second leaving Caccia Engineering’s Diego Testa and Daniele Martignoni in third place followed by The Blue Roo’s Brett Luhrmann and Pal Virik Nilsen in fourth.
Reigning world champion and former Victory Team driver Arif Al Zaffain who is participating with Great Britain’s Scott Williams in their boat ‘Al Wasl’ finished seventh in a time of 2:15.912 minutes.
A field of eleven boats had started off in the Pole Position run on a narrow, tight circuit, on the flat waters of Long Hu Dragon Lake earlier on Saturday.
This week’s Zhengzhou Grand Prix marks a welcome return to the calendar for offshore racing after the UIM Class One racing series failed to find a regular promoter and the UIM took control of XCAT racing and announced a four-race calendar.
Now being run under the auspices of world governing body UIM, the four-race calendar will see three back-to-back Chinese races in Zhengzhou (October 13-15), Weihei (October 20-22) and Xiamen (October 27-29) followed by a finale in Dubai to coincide with the UAE National Day celebrations in the first week of December.
On Sunday, there will a second official practice session from 11 am (7 am UAE) followed by the second round of the Zhengzhou Grand Prix at 14.30 (10.30 am UAE).
2017 Zhengzhou Grand Prix – race 1 result:
1. Victory 3 – Salem Al-Adidi (UAE)/Eisa Al-Ali (UAE) 32min 35.68sec
2. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) @23.49sec
3. Caccia Engineering 22 – Diego Testa (ITA)/Daniele Martignoni (ITA) @37.68sec
4. The Blue Roo (Team Australia) 8 – Brett Luhrmann (AUS)/Pal-Virik Nilsen (NOR) @53.34sec
5. Swecat Racing 2 – Mikael Bengtsson (SWE)/Erik Stark (SWE) @1min 23.86sec
6. Fujairah Team 20 – Serafino Barlesi (ITA)/Alessandro Barone (ITA) @1min 28.11sec
7. 222 Offshore 20 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Joakhim Kumlin (SWE) @1min 37.21sec
8. New Star 9 – Mikhail Kitashev (RUS)/Dmitry Vandyshev (RUS) 3. Fujairah Racing @2min 11.12sec
9. Raheeb 17 – Abdullatif Al-Omani (KWT)/Mustafa Al-Dashti (KWT) 2. Al&Al 1 lap behind
DNF. Al Wasl 7 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Scott Williams (GBR) retired – after lap 2
DNS. Lady Spain 46 – Roberto Lo Piano (ITA)/Andrea Comello (ITA)