After clinching a sensational second position behind Victory Team in Friday afternoon’s rescheduled Dubai Grand Prix, the Team Abu Dhabi’s 5 crew of Faleh Al-Mansoori and Rashed Al-Tayer were thrown headlong into Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run action on Saturday at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC).
The luck of the draw worked against both teams on this occasion and they were pitted together in the first of the heats instead of what could so easily have been the final. Victory Team’s Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi prevailed in the heat and went on to beat Dubai 33’s Salem Al-Adidi and Eisa Al-Ali in a thrilling all-local final.
T-Bone Station’s Giovanni Carpitella and Marco Pennesi comfortably won the third-placed play-off against Team Australia’s Pal-Virik Nilsen and Brett Luhrmann.
“It wasn’t meant to be today, but that’s the luck of the draw and racing sometimes,” said Team Abu Dhabi 5’s Al-Tayer. “We take a superb second place in the Grand Prix and many positives away from the weekend and can now focus on getting ready for the next round of the championship at an exciting new venue in Switzerland.”
Gold Coast Australia’s Tom Barry Cotter and Ross Willaton were first on to the water in the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run heats against Mikael Bengtsson and Erik Stark in Swecat Racing. The Swedes cruised through to the next round at the expense of their Australian rivals.
Team Abu Dhabi 5 lined up alongside Victory Team in what promised to be a pulsating second heat featuring the two boats that finished second and first in Friday’s Grand Prix. The local crew made the better start and, despite Team Abu Dhabi 5 closing towards the end, Victory Team progressed to the next round. Fujairah eliminated Raheeb in heat three and Dubai 33 finished well clear of a repaired Spirit of France in the next heat, while Team Australia and Carpisa Yamanay lined up in the next one and the Aussies prevailed.
The two-stroke T-Bone Station had a bye into the last eight and faced four-stroke Swecat Racing in the first of the quarterfinals and managed to reach the last four. Victory Team cruised through to the semis with a win over Fujairah Team and Dubai 33 saw off Six in the third of the quarterfinals. The thrilling all-Australian showdown in quarterfinal four fell to Team Australia and they faced Dubai 33 in the second of the semi-finals. Victory Team swept T-Bone Station aside in the first to reach the final, where they were soon joined by Dubai 33.
Team Australia faced T-Bone Station in the third-place play-off and the Italians beat the Norwegian-Australian pairing to pave the way for Victory Team to beat Dubai 33 in the final.
Both Team Abu Dhabi 4’s Rashed Al-Qamzi and Majed Al-Mansoori and the Lady Spain boat were sidelined after suffering mechanical damage on Friday.
Team Abu Dhabi is sponsored by Etihad Airways and runs under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, advisor to the Head of State and chairman of the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC).
Action in the 2016 UIM XCAT World Series resumes with a new race at Lugano in Switzerland on June 4-5. Championship officials have also announced an additional round of the series will take place at Seoul in South Korea on September 23-25, thus extending the 2016 series to six rounds.
2016 Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run (unofficial):
1st Victory Team
2nd Dubai 33
3rd T-Bone Station
4th Team Australia