Team Abu Dhabi will leave nothing to chance in a bid to bounce back into contention for success in the 2016 UIM XCAT World Series, when action resumes with this weekend’s Dubai Grand Prix off the coast of the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC).
Last weekend’s dramatic race in Fujairah was a set back for the two-boat team running out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) and the two crews find themselves near the foot of the championship standings at this early stage of the season.
The calendar is such this year that there are just eight days between the first two Grand Prix in Fujairah and Dubai and team technicians have been working long hours to ensure that both Team Abu Dhabi 4 and 5 are ready for the first of the practice sessions in Dubai on Thursday afternoon and the Emaar Pole Position qualifying session on Friday morning (April 15).
At this stage last season, Faleh Al-Mansoori and Rashed Al-Tayer were topping the points’ tables in Team Abu Dhabi 5, but Al-Tayer is confident that they can bounce back quickly after retiring from the opening race last Friday.
“Last week was just plain unfortunate,” said Al-Tayer. “We had a minor coming together with Team Australia and tried to carry on as long as we could to get some points on the board. The team has worked hard to make sure the boat is ready for this weekend and there would be nothing better than to go out there and beat the Victory Team on its home waters in the race on Saturday.”
Team Abu Dhabi 4’s Rashed Al-Qamzi and Majed Al-Mansoori also struggled at the first race on the Gulf of Oman and collected eight championship points for 10th position. But they will also be looking for a better performance in the new pole position qualifying sessions on Friday, after starting last weekend’s race from the rear end of the group of 14 boats. That made it very difficult to make ground on the leaders and challenge for the podium in a race that was stopped following the crash involving their team-mates on lap one.
Victory Team’s Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi led race one from the restart to the finish and return to their home venue with an early championship lead of 11 points over Gold Coast Australia’s Tom Barry Cotter and Ross Willaton. Mikael Bengtsson and Erik Stark are third in Swecat Racing, a further five points behind.
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 all-important pole position qualifying takes place on Friday afternoon and precedes the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Runs on Friday afternoon. The 2016 Dubai Grand Prix will take centre stage off the coast of Mina Seyahi on Saturday afternoon.