The first round of the 2018 UIM XCAT World Championship was fought out over one start lap, 15 normal laps and two compulsory long laps and a total race distance of 61.5Nm in outside temperatures in excess of 35°C.
The original start was red-flagged and the boats had to line-up for a restart.
222 Offshore made a superb start but Maritimo flipped out of the race after colliding with Team Australia.
Neither Tom Barry Cotter nor Ross Willaton were injured, but it threw the race wide open on the opening lap before the red flag was raised to rescue the crew and remove the inverted boat from the course.
Team Australia also retired.
In choppy conditions, Dubai Police headed 222 Offshore from the second restart followed by the two Team Abu Dhabi boats.
Dubai Police maintained the early advantage from 222 Offshore, Team Abu Dhabi 4, Swecat Racing and Videx.
Team Abu Dhabi 5 took a long lap early and slipped down the field heading into lap six.
Dubai Police and 222 Offshore maintained the top two positions through six laps and Swecat Racing moved into third place. HPI 96 was struggling at the rear of the field in 10th.
None of the leading group had taken either of their two compulsory long laps at the start of lap seven, with the exception of Team Abu Dhabi 5, and Dubai Police maintained its advantage from 222 Offshore and Swecat Racing into lap eight.
The gap between the top two was 15 seconds after lap nine, with Swecat Racing a further seven seconds behind and heading Team Abu Dhabi 4 and Videx.
Team Abu Dhabi 5 was down in ninth place.
The decision was taken to shorten the race to 12 laps and Dubai Police held on to claim the victory from 222 Offshore, Swecat Racing and Team Abu Dhabi 4, but Team Abu Dhabi 5 moved up two places over the closing kilometres to claim seventh position at the expense of Videx.
Team Abu Dhabi 4’s Torrente said after:
It was a really good solid first race for me and Faleh.
We made a little mistake on the first lap that cost us the podium but, hopefully, we can still do that tomorrow.
The boat performed really well and we gained a lot of experience and were really comfortable by the end of the race.
We wanted the podium and got fourth, but that’s good points for the championship.