Team Abu Dhabi sealed an emphatic 1-2 finish in race two of the Shanghai Grand Prix on Dishui Lake on Sunday afternoon.
Team Abu Dhabi 4’s Shaun Torrente and Emirati Faleh Al-Mansoori overtook their Team Abu Dhabi 5 team-mates, Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori, and romped to an impressive 36.14-second victory after the sixth race of the UIM XCAT World Championship.
Race winner Shaun Torrente said:
We have the best powerboat racing team in the world.
It is our pleasure to drive the boats that Team Abu Dhabi prepare. We had a great start and we were able to push our team-mates.
We knew we were faster.
When they took their second long lap, we were ahead and we knew it.
The last five laps were painful.
We had a big lead and you are just waiting for something to go wrong.
This is a perfect result for us and one that has thrown the title race wide open. We ran a perfect race and for the team to come away with a 1-2 finish is icing on the cake to take to the next races.
With the series-leading Dubai Police crew of Nadir Bin Hendi and Arif Saif Al-Zafeen crossing the finish in fifth position behind High Performance Italia (HPI) 96’s Francois Pinelli and Giuseppe Schiano Di Cola and Team Australia’s Blue Roo Norwegian crew of Pål-Virik Nilsen and Jan Trygve Braaten, it enabled Torrente and Al-Mansoori to close to within 20 points of the championship lead.
In a race that had few incidents – unlike the opener on Saturday afternoon – long lap strategies came to the fore early on, but Team Abu Dhabi 4 was not to be denied and, once Torrente and Al-Mansoori sniffed the chance of the win, they powered off into the distance to record an emphatic success. Team Abu Dhabi 5 now holds third position in the title race heading to the two races in Hangzhou next weekend.
Team Abu Dhabi 5’s Rashed Al-Tayer commented before the podium celebrations:
I am very happy for the podium today.
Our strategy was very good. We are thinking about the points for the World Championship.
Grand Prix of Shanghai – Race 6 of the 2018 XCAT World Championship
Boats lined up for the start of race two in the order in which they had finished the thrilling opening encounter on Saturday. The final results for race one were changed yet again overnight and Team Abu Dhabi 5 were actually given the win.
The Blue Roo won the third practice session from the two Team Abu Dhabi boats on Sunday morning but dropped to second place overnight and Team Abu Dhabi 4 were demoted to third and started in a similar position on the pontoon. After the broken shaft and propeller issues on Saturday, the series leading Dubai Police were down in 11th place.
The race would be staged over a start lap of 3.63Nm, 15 normal race laps of 3.10Nm and two compulsory long laps of 2.56Nm.
Team Abu Dhabi 4 made a superb start and moved ahead of Blue Roo on the start lap to give the team out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) a 1-2 start.
The two boats began to pull away from the Blue Roo and, by lap three, they were well clear of the Team Australia boat, as HPI 86 held fourth place and Dubai Police stormed through the field from 11th to fifth with Kuwait in sixth in grey, overcast racing conditions.
Long lap strategies started to come into play as the race progressed, although Team Abu Dhabi 5 led from HPI 96 into lap five and Team Abu Dhabi 4 and Dubai Police rounded off the top four followed by Swecat Racing, Kuwait and the Blue Roo. Team Abu Dhabi 5 ran a long lap soon afterwards and the decision handed the temporary race lead to HPI 98 heading into laps five and six.
HPI 96 maintained the advantage over Team Abu Dhabi 5 without taking a long lap with Team Abu Dhabi 4, Dubai Police, Kuwait and Swecat Racing trailing in their wake. But Al-Tayer and Al-Mansoori regained the lead in Team Abu Dhabi 5 on lap seven from HPI 96, Team Abu Dhabi 4, the Blue Roo, Dubai Police and Kuwait.
By lap eight, Team Abu Dhabi 4 had snatched second position behind their team-mates and HPI 96 slipped to third and was being pursued by the Blue Roo, Dubai Police and Kuwait. The leaders held station into lap nine, but Team Abu Dhabi 4 passed the Emirati 5 boat on the next lap as the two Team Abu Dhabi boats continued to dominate proceedings on Dishui Lake.
Team Abu Dhabi 4 completed lap 11 at the front of the field and closed in on lapping 10th placed Yacht Club Como, as a repaired Videx 22 struggled slowly at the tail end of the race in 12th place. Torrente and Faleh Al-Mansoori began to pull away from their rivals and were running around 20 seconds ahead at the start of lap 13.
The order remained the same heading into lap 15 of 17 and all boats had completed their long laps. Team Abu Dhabi 4 was not be to denied and Torrente and Al-Mansoori cruised through the closing turns to record a stunning win and move even closer to Dubai Police in the championship standings. Team Abu Dhabi 5 finished second and HPI 96 rounded off the podium places with the Blue Roo and Dubai Police in fourth and fifth.
2018 Shanghai Grand Prix – Race 6 result:
1. Team Abu Dhabi 4 – Shaun Torrente (USA)/Faleh Al-Mansoori (UAE) 41min 31.92sec
2. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) @36.14sec
3. HPI 96 – François Pinelli (FRA)/Giuseppe Schiano di Cola (ITA) @46.00sec
4. The Blue Roo 8 – Pål-Virik Nilsen (NOR)/Jan Trygve Braaten (NOR) @47.91sec
5. Dubai Police 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir bin Hendi (UAE) @1min 06.29sec
6. Kuwait 17 – Abdullatef Al-Omani (KUW)/Moustafa Al-Dashti (KUW) @1min 24.33sec
7. Swecat Racing 2 – Erik Stark (SWE)/Sebastien Groth (SWE) @2min 05.71sec
8. New Star 9 – Mikhail Kitashev (RUS)/Dmitry Vandyshev (RUS) @2min 28.51sec
9. Viniexsport 46 – Andrea Comello (ITA)/Rosario Schiano Di Cola (ITA) 1 lap behind
10. Yacht Club Como 20 – Serafino Barlesi (ITA)/Domenico Caldarola (ITA) 1 lap behind
11. 222 Offshore 10 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Joakhim Kumlin (SWE) 2 laps behind
12. Videx 22 – Alfredo Amato (ITA)/Daniele Martignoni (ITA) 3 laps behind
2018 UIM XCAT World Championship – positions after race 6:
1. Dubai Police 3 163pts
2. Team Abu Dhabi 4 143pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 132pts
4. Team Australia 8 126pts
5. 222 Offshore 10 107pts
6. Kuwait 17 75pts
7. HPI 96 74pts
8. Venus Bali/Viniexsport 46 73pts
9. New Star 9 65pts
10. Yacht Club Como 20 61pts
11. Swecat Racing 2 46pts
12. Videx/Ribot 22 40pts
13. Maritimo 12 0pts