XCAT Mechanical woes thwart Team Abu Dhabi's challenge as Victory Team wins in Fujairah



Fujairah Grand Prix, round 1– April 5-7


Second and third for Gold Coast Australia and Swecat Racing; Team Abu Dhabi 4 finishes 10th
Team Australia spectacularly flips out on opening lap and forces red flag situation

FUJAIRAH (UAE): Friday, April 8: Team Abu Dhabi is aiming to go one better than the second position it earned in last year’s UIM XCAT World Series, but the team out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) will need better fortune on its side for the rest of the season after a suffering a disappointing outing in Friday’s Fujairah Grand Prix.

The weekend got off to the perfect start when Faleh Al-Mansoori and Rashed Al-Tayer guided Team Abu Dhabi 5 to pole position and the Emirati duo headed Team Australia, Victory Team and T-Bone Station into the opening race on the Gulf of Oman.

But a lap one red flag forced a race restart and mechanical issues intervened for Team Abu Dhabi 5 from then on. They struggled round the course trying to pick up valuable championship points before returning to the pits to retire and their absence paved the way for the Victory Team’s Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi to dominate the race.

The Dubai crew led from the restart and never looked troubled. They passed the chequered flag well clear of Gold Coast Australia’s Tom Barry Cotter and Ross Willaton to start the defence of their XCAT World Series title in perfect style. Erik Stark and Mikael Bengtsson finished third in Swecat Racing.

Dubai’s Salem Al-Adidi and Eisa Al-Ali were fourth and Alfredo Amato and Diego Testa rounded off the top five in Carpias Yamamay. Team Abu Dhabi 4’s Rashed Al-Qamzi and Majed Al-Mansoori started the season opener among the third group in the 14-boat field. They struggled to find a competitive pace and crossed the finish line in an unofficial 10th.

“We had good conditions for qualifying and pushed hard,” said Al-Tayer. “But we know from last year that this course is never easy and, quite often, there is rougher water in the afternoons. Today was not meant to be. We need to regroup, move on and look ahead to the rest of the season. There is still a long way to go.”

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 ADIMSC.

The race ran over a start lap, 11 normal laps and an additional two long laps. Victory Team had the measure of Team Abu Dhabi 5 down the opening straight, gained the lead and began to edge clear, but Team Australia flipped out of the top four on a tight turn, as Raheeb was left behind by the chasing pack.

The race was red-flagged soon afterwards following Team Australia’s accident and restarted over one less lap several minutes later. Victory again made the running and headed passed the coast ahead of T-Bone Station, Fujairah Team, Dubai and Swecat Racing. The Victory boat began to edge away from its rivals over the next lap, as both Team Abu Dhabi 4 and 5 struggled near the rear of the field after a disappointing start, the pole-winning 5 boat opting to take the long laps early along with Gold Coast Australia.

Victory lapped Raheeb and continued to make headway at the front of the field, with T-Bone Station, Fujairah Team and Swecat Racing continuing in their wake. Both Team Abu Dhabi boats remained near the rear of the field, as the leading trio ran the first of their long laps. Team Abu Dhabi 5 was clearly struggling with a mechanical issue and was passed by Victory Team before returning to the pits to cap a disappointing afternoon.

Swecat Racing moved up to second behind Victory Team and Gold Coast Australia took advantage of the slowing Fujairah Team’s technical woes to snatch third and inherited second when Swecat Racing took a second long lap. But there was no stopping Victory Team and the Dubai duo crossed the finish line to record a comfortable win.

The Victory Team crew of Arif Zaif Al-Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi also claimed the bonus points for winning Thursday afternoon’s Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat runs after defeating the Italian Six pairing of Matteo Nicolini and Tomaso Polli in the final. T-Bone Station pipped Lady Spain to third place in the play-off heat.

Team Abu Dhabi 4 was eliminated in the second round by Victory Team and Six put paid to Team Abu Dhabi 5’s chance in another high-speed second round encounter where the radar clocked the Team Abu Dhabi boat at in excess of 180 km/h.

2016 Fujairah Grand Prix – result (unofficial):
1. Victory Team
2. Gold Coast Australia
3. Swecat Racing
4. Dubai
5. Carpisa Yamamay
6. T-Bone Station
7. Lady Spain
8. Spirit of France
9. Six
10. Team Abu Dhabi 4
11. Fujairah Team
12. Raheeb

- Ends -

For further media information and information about Team Abu Dhabi:
Please contact: Khalid Al Saadi, Media Incharge, Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, P.O. Box 45656, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Mobile Telephone: + 971 50 768 6761, E-mail: alsaadi@adimsc.ae.


Date issued: 08/04/2016

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