Rashid Al Mulla is aiming to lead the way to a double title triumph for Team Abu Dhabi in the 2019 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship by extending his brilliant winning sequence in this week’s Grand Prix of Sharjah.
The defending world freestyle champion enters the final round of the series holding a commanding 18-point lead over Italy’s Roberto Mariani, having won the last 21 motos for a remarkable run of nine successive Grand Prix triumphs.
Team Abu Dhabi hope Al Mulla’s achievements can help inspire his team-mate Rashed Al Tayer, who has a fighting chance to claim the world Runabout GP1 crown, lying just seven points adrift of Poland’s championship leader, Andrzej Wisniewski.
Having scored a hat-trick of Grand Prix victories in Sharjah in the last three years, Al Mulla has looked unbeatable all season and may not need all three motos taking place this week – two on Wednesday and another on Friday – to retain his freestyle crown.
Al Tayer might have been out of the running in the Runabout GP title race by now after being forced to contest the last Grand Prix in China on a bike rented locally when his own was held up in customs.
But the Emirati rider shrugged off the handicap and collected enough points to grab a share of second place in the championship with Kuwait’s Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq,
The aquabikes take to the water on Khaled Lagoon for free practice at 9.30am tomorrow ahead of the pole position qualifiers at 2.30pm.
Team Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, have two world powerboat tiles in their sights in Sharjah, where the UIM F1H2O World Championships also reaches its climax on Saturday.
Defending champion Shaun Torrente enters the final round holding a five-point lead over Jonas Andersson and facing a showdown with the Swede, and is in a commanding position to retain the team title with Thani Al Qemzi.
Runabout GP1 World Championship standings
1 ANDRZEJ WISNIEWSKI PL 104pts
2 YOUSEF AL ABDULRAZZAQ KW 97
2 RASHED AL TAYER UAE 97
4 MARCUS JORGENSEN DK 93
4 SAMUEL JOHANSSON SE 93
6 JEREMY PEREZ FR 87
7 ANTON PANKRATOV EE 86
8 JOHAN JOHANSSON SE 66
9 MATTIA FRACASSO IT 64
10 LINO ARAUJO PT 58
Freestyle World Championship standings
1 RASHID AL MULLA AE 150
2 ROBERTO MARIANI IT 132
3 JAROSLAV TIRNER CZ 110
4 SERGEY CHEMEZOV RU 107
5 PAULO NUNES PT 85
6 NIELS WILLEMS BE 71
7 ALEXANDER KURAMSHI RU 63
8 VLADISLAV VOROBEV RU 51
9 ALBERTO CAMERLENGO IT 29
10 HE LIU CN 15
Tony Lewis, is a former British print and BBC broadcast journalist with more than 40 years’ media and PR experience.