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Strewth! It’s an Aussie XCAT win in Weihai

Chris Davies on 21st October 2017

Brett Luhrmann and Pål Virik Nilsen drove their Blue Roo XCAT to a dominant victory in Weihai, China today. The Aussie / Norwegian pairing took their first ever win in race 3 of the UIM 2017 XCAT World Championship in fine style.

The race fired into life much later than planned in the original timetable because of tidal conditions.

The Blue Roo led from Victory Team and Team Abu Dhabi, but Lady Spain missed the race after crashing on Friday afternoon.

Racing was to be staged over a start lap, 13 normal laps and two long laps.

The Blue Roo held the advantage but a flying Caccia Engineering made up a lot of ground in poor visibility, as Victory Team dropped to the rear of the field after incurring a penalty lap.

The Blue Roo continued to lead from Team Abu Dhabi, Weihai-China and Caccia Engineering, but the Emirati duo opted for a long lap early on as well and Weihai-China snatched second position and the Victory Team took their long laps.

The Blue Roo continued to press ahead, but still had to take two long laps as Team Abu Dhabi took a second long lap as well and, like Victory Team, now had a clean slate to push through the field over the closing tours.

The Blue Roo, Weihai-China and Caccia Engineering held the top three places before their long laps were taken into consideration.

The leaders decided to take their long laps on tours seven and eight and the order stabilised with the Blue Roo crew maintaining their advantage from Weihai-China (one long lap to run), Swecat Racing, Team Abu Dhabi, Caccia Engineering, while Victory Team were down in ninth position after their penalty lap.

Weihai-China took their second long lap and Swecat Racing and Team Abu Dhabi moved up to second and third behind the Blue Roo, only for Weihai-China to return in third place.

Team Abu Dhabi duly slipped to fourth from a distant Fujairah Team.

The Blue Roo held on to take a maiden victory and push themselves firmly into contention for the XCAT title.

A jubilant Pål Virik Nilsen said after:

It was mainly three factors: a perfect start, where we could cope with the swell, a balanced first turn, keeping opponents in control and not losing much speed, and a spot-on strategy which allowed us to stay in the the front. But then, we went on pushing all the time up to the very limit of the boat in these conditions.
Tomorrow will be another story, because the conditions could change and maybe we won’t make to have such a good start.

Weihai-China moved up to second and a struggling Swecat Racing was also passed by Team Abu Dhabi, who snatched third overall on lap 13. But Weihai-China was under investigation by race officials as the chequered flag fell on a thrilling race.


Victory on the move

The Victory Team was moved up from seventh to sixth at the expense of Caccia Engineering in the final results for race one, when it came to light that the Italians had only run one long lap.

The additional three points moved them a single point behind Team Abu Dhabi and ahead of the Blue Roo in the World Championship.

2017 UIM XCAT World Championship – standings after race 3 of 8 (unofficial):

1. Team Abu Dhabi 5 86pts

2. Victory 3 85pts

3. The Blue Roo (Team Australia) 8 83pts

4. 222 Offshore 10/Weihai–China 10 64pts

5. Fujairah Team 20 51pts

6. Swecat Racing 2 44pts

7. Caccia Engineering 22 38pts

8. New Star 9 31pts

9. Raheeb 17 23pts

10. Al Wasl 7 21pts

11. Lady Spain 46 10pts

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