The Dubai 33 crew of Salem Al-Adidi and Eisa Al-Ali produced a last gasp lap of 2min 18.259sec to claim pole position for Friday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the qualifying session at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Thursday afternoon.
Team Abu Dhabi 5’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori had stolen a march on all their rivals in the opening session and looked to have pole sewn up when they ran a lap of 2min 18.817sec in the Q3 shoot-out. They missed out on pole on home waters by just over half a second, but are well placed to push for the outright victory on Friday.
The Italian duo of Alfredo Amato and Diego Testa gave an impressive showing in Carpisa Yamanay to claim third place with a time of 2min 19.062sec. Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi continued the development of the Generation 2 four-stroke XCAT and the Dubai-based UIM XCAT World Series champions claimed fourth in the line-up for Friday’s race after they spun out of Q3 in a dramatic twist of events at the final corner of the lap.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Al-Mansoori said;
It would have been nice to claim the pole position, but that is racing I guess. We gave it our best shot, but we will start the race in a very strong position and we are determined to take the win.
Emaar Pole Position
Gold Coast Australia was patched up after its indiscretion on Tuesday and Jay Price confirmed that the engine issue that prevented Lady Spain from taking to the water for the official practice session on Wednesday afternoon was rectified soon afterwards.
Swecat Racing was also repaired, but only 11 boats and 22 team members headed out into the all-important Emaar Pole Position that preceded the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run in the afternoon.
Gold Coast Australia and New Star missed out.
Team Abu Dhabi 5 and Dubai 33 were the first two boats out on the water and the host team set the early pace with a lap of 2min 20.256sec in the first 30 minutes.
Spirit of France carded the second fastest tour of 2min 20.96sec and Altman Marine’s Lady Spain made an impressive start, after missing Thursday’s practice, with Kumlin and Price stopping the clocks with a best early time of 2min 21.694sec.
Victory 3 was also in the mix in sixth but Carpisa Yamanay moved into second position with a time of 2min 20.490sec, as the leading boats returned to the pontoon after Q1.
Al-Tayer commented on the pontoon at the break;
That was a good first session for us and we were happy with the set-up and the performance.
I think it would be difficult to get into the 2min 18sec range, but we will continue with our plan.
Carpisa Yamanay is running strongly, but the target for us is the pole.
However, in Q3 both Dubai 33 and Team Abu Dhabi 5 did get in the the 2min 18sec range, giving them the fastest times of the day.
2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Emaar Pole Position times (unofficial)
1. Dubai 33 – Salem Al-Adidi (UAE)/Eisa Al-Ali (UAE) – 2min 18.259sec
2. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) – 2min 18.817sec
3. Carpisa Yamanay 22 –Alfredo Amato (ITA)/Diego Testa (ITA)- 2min 19.062sec
4. Victory Team 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) – DNF
5. Lady Spain 46 – Joakim Kumlin (SWE)/Jay Price (USA) – 2min 21.647sec
6. Swecat Racing 2 – Mikael Bengtsson (SWE)/Erik Stark (SWE) – 2min 23.960sec
7. Spirit of France (Yacht) 96 – Saul Bubacco (ITA)/Francois Pinelli (FRA) – 2min 24.196sec
8. Fujairah Team 20 – Serafino Barlesi (ITA)/Alessandro Barone (ITA) 2min 25.030sec
9. The Blue Roo (Team Australia) 8 – Brett Luhrmann (AUS)/Pal-Virik Nilsen (NOR) – 2min 23.108sec
10. T-Bone Station 10 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) – 2min 23.424sec
11. Raheeb 17 – Abdullatif Al-Omani (KWT)/Khaled Burabee (KWT) – 2min 29.921sec
New Star 9 – Mikhail Kitashev (RUS)/Dmitry Vandyshev (RUS) – DNS
Gold Coast Australia 11 – Tom Barry-Cotter (AUS)/Ross Willaton (AUS)- DNS