Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer produced a sparkling performance in the Grand Prix of Portugal to present himself as a serious title challenger in the 2019 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship.
The Emirati hit the front from the start of the weekend’s first of two GP1 motos and led the race for 14 of its 15 laps in Portimao, opening up a gap of 14 seconds from world champion, Jeremy Perez.
While Perez eventually fought back to take victory by 4.33s, Al Tayer did enough to suggest that he could emerge as the Frenchman’s biggest rival this season.
Said Al Tayer: “I made a great start and could see that I had built a good lead and eased off a bit and then suddenly towards the end he was right there with me. I tried to respond and push but I got caught out in traffic and he took advantage.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s reigning freestyle world champion Rashid Al Mulla stayed on course for a seventh successive Grand Prix victory by scoring 94 points out of 100 in the first moto to win from Italian Roberto Mariani on 80 pts. In the Ski Division GP1, Team Abu Dhabi’s Salman Al Awadhi was in ninth position after two of three motos.