Former Victory Team crew mates, Arif Saif Al Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi got back to winning ways in Xiamen, China today when they steered Al Wasl to first place after a thrilling tactical battle.
Bin Hendi explained:
This is a brand new team, we came from scratch.
After a disappointing first part of the season we did third in the last race, and finally we won today.
We were really hungry for a win.
Al Zaffein added:
Many things happened today, and we were in constant contact with our team manager who decided the best long-lap strategy for us.
But if you want to know what we were saying each other in the cockpit, that remains a secret between me and my brother.
2017 XCAT World Championship leaders Brett Luhrmann and Pål Virik Nilsen driving the Blue Roo, picked up more valuable points.
Virik Nilsen was happy with second:
When we lost the trim, it was a matter of finishing the race and taking points.
We didn’t mind not winning the race, it was more important to collect points and gain advantage over Victory.
Missing a trim is like racing a car in third gear.
You need it for balancing the boat, for having good acceleration, for keeping the nose down in the waves.
Without trims you are completely lost, luckily we still had one.
Mikael Bengtsson and Erik Stark in Swecat grabbed third after Caccia Engineering were demoted to sixth after receiving a one minute penalty.
We had our best propellers in the first race, but we broke them.
It’s difficult to have spare parts shipped to China so we had to make the best of our material.
But we are confident that we have found the right setup now.
2017 UIM XCAT World Championship – Race 5 – Xiamen
Caccia Engineering led the Blue Roo and Victory Team through the first gate at the start of a crucial race for Team Abu Dhabi, which started from sixth position at gate two following the cancellation of Q2 and Q3 qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
Victory Team managed to pass the pole sitter on the opening straight and into the first turn to take the lead. The Blue Roo held second from Caccia Engineering, Swecat Racing, Al Wasl and Team Abu Dhabi, although Swecat Racing moved into third as Al Wasl and Team Abu Dhabi took one long laps apiece in the race.
The race-leading Victory Team was under investigation for not staying in lane at the start, but maintained a slender lead from the Blue Roo and Swecat Racing.
News filtered through from race control that Victory Team had indeed incurred a one-lap penalty, as Team Abu Dhabi ran a second long lap and began a climb back through the field.
The Blue Roo snatched the lead when Victory took the first of three long laps and Miphere Xiamen moved up to third as rivals took long laps. Caccia Engineering was also under investigation for striking a turn buoy and was issued a one-lap penalty.
The Blue Roo maintained the lead into lap eight, but still had to run two long laps in the closing stages of the race.
Al Wasl managed to pass Swecat Racing and snatch third place, as Victory Team and the Blue Roo both used lap eight for a long tour of the course. It meant that Al Wasl inherited second position and Swecat Racing held third behind the Blue Roo before slipping behind the Victory Team.
Team Abu Dhabi held eighth place on lap 10 and stood to benefit as other teams took their second long laps.
Al Wasl kept the pressure on the Blue Roo into lap 11, but both boats needed to take one extra lap with just three seconds between them and three laps remaining. They both opted to use the last three laps for their second long lap, as Victory slipped to fifth behind Caccia Engineering and Swecat Racing.
Al Wasl gained the lead when the Blue Roo took a very late long run, but the outcome came down to the 15th lap when Al Wasl was forced to take a long lap.
Team Abu Dhabi gained one position to finish in seventh place but, in a nail-biting finish, Al Wasl took a 24-second lead over the Blue Roo into the long lap and managed to stay ahead of Team Australia to confirm the victory by the margin of just over 10 seconds.
2017 Xiamen Grand Prix – race 1 result:
1. Al Wasl 7 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir bin Hendi (UAE) 37min 28.74sec
2. The Blue Roo (Team Australia) 8 – Brett Luhrmann (AUS)/Pål-Virik Nilsen (NOR) @10.36sec
3. Swecat Racing 2 – Mikael Bengtsson (SWE)/Erik Stark (SWE) @24.73sec
4. Victory 3 – Salem Al-Adidi (UAE)/Eisa Al-Ali (UAE) @31.23sec
5. Miphere Xiamen 10 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Joakim Kumlin (SWE) @1min 14.53sec
6. Caccia Engineering 22 – Alfredo Amato (ITA)/Daniele Martignoni (ITA) @1min 19.94sec (1min penalty)
7. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) @1min 28.35sec
8. Fujairah Team 20 – Serafino Barlesi (ITA)/Alessandro Barone (ITA) @1min 32.21sec
9. New Star 9 – Mikhail Kitashev (RUS)/Dmitry Vandyshev (RUS) @1min 40.71sec
10. Lady Spain 46 – Roberto Lo Piano (ITA)/Andrea Comello (ITA) @2min 38.05sec
11. Raheeb 17 – Abdullatif Al-Omani (KWT)/Mustafa Al-Dashti (KWT) DSQ
2017 UIM XCAT World Championship – standings after race 5 of 8 (unofficial):
1. The Blue Roo (Team Australia) 8 148pts
2. Victory 3 137pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 116pts
4. 222 Offshore/Weihai–China/Miphere Xiamen 104pts
5. Swecat Racing 2 85pts
6. Al Wasl 7 81pts
7. Fujairah Team 20 71pts
8. Caccia Engineering 22 63pts
9. New Star 9 52pts
10. Raheeb 17 34pts
11. Lady Spain 46 22pts