Switzerland’s Lake Lugano played host to its first ever pole position qualifying for a UIM XCAT World Series event on Saturday afternoon. The Team Abu Dhabi 5 crew of Rashed Al-Tayer and Faleh Al-Mansoori qualified for Sunday’s race in third position, with pole honours going to the Gold Coast Australia crew of Tom-Barry Cotter and Ross Willaton.
The series-leading Victory Team crew of Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi qualified in fourth and Lady Spain’s Jay Price and Joakhim Kumlin finished a fine second.
After a pair of back-to-back races in the United Arab Emirates in the spring, the calmer waters of Lake Lugano were a welcome change for the impressive field of 14 boats that lined up for pole qualifying and the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Runs later in the afternoon. Team Abu Dhabi runs out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) and know the importance of achieving at least a podium finish in Lugano after dropping points to their leading challengers in Fujairah and Dubai.
“Third in the pole position is an excellent result for Faleh and Rashed and puts us in a perfect position to challenge for the victory tomorrow afternoon,” said Salem Al-Romeithi, assistant general manager of the ADIMSC. “It would have been nice to claim pole, but the competition is tough and we will, at least, start ahead of the boat that leads the XCAT World Series.”
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).
All 14 boats took part in Thursday afternoon’s practice session and Victory Team’s Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi set the fastest lap of 2min 25.480sec after completing 11 laps of the challenging Lake Lugano course. Swecat Racing’s Mikael Bengtsson and Erik Stark were second with a lap of 2min 25.933sec and Team Abu Dhabi 5’s Al-Mansoori and Al-Tayer ran for 10 laps and posted the fifth quickest time of 2min 27.066sec.
The inaugural Lugano Grand Prix take centre stage at 3.30pm (5.30pm UAE time) on Sunday afternoon.
2016 Lugano Grand Prix – Emaar Pole Position results (unofficial):
1. Gold Coast Australia
2. Lady Spain
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5
4. Victory Team