Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al-Mulla impressed the judges with a outstanding three-minute programme of spins, somersaults and flips in the Freestyle category’s Pole Position session at the Grand Prix of Italy in Gallipoli on Friday afternoon.
The world-renowned Slovenian Florjancic brothers, Rok and Nac, did not register for the opening round of the series and that opened the door for Al-Mulla and his closest rivals to challenge for early season points. Al-Mulla, therefore, lined up against world number one Roberto Mariani, fellow Italian Alberto Camerlengo, Portugal’s Paulo Nunes and Russia’s Alexander Kuramshin for the opening sessions.
Qualifying is largely irrelevant in the Freestyle discipline and takes on far less significance than it does for the Ski Division and Runabout entrants. The five riders took to the water at the end of the session on Friday afternoon in blistering heat.
Kuramshin headed out on to the water first and opened his three-minute routine with a nice series of back flips, somersaults and one-handed turns in front of the VIP tents. Rome-based Mariani was next out and started with a series of four back flips and 360 and 180 degree spins and completed the routine with his customary ‘fountain’ finale.
Camerlengo’s Richter boat sported a new livery and he was the third out on to the water. The Italian delivered a series of impressive back-flips.
Series debutant Nunes offered a mix of spins and flips before Al-Mulla took to the water to wrap up the afternoon’s racing. He began with a spectacular combination of barrel-rolls and speed 360s and 180s and continued to impress right through his stint in a tight area of real estate in front of the judges.
2018 UIM-ABP Grand Prix of Italy – Pole Position result
1. Rashid Al-Mulla (UAE) 90pts
2. Roberto Mariani (ITA) 81pts
3. Alberto Camerlengo (ITA) 52pts
4. Alexander Kuramshin (RUS) 39pts
5. Paolo Nunes (PRT) 35pts