Team Australia’s Brett Luhrmann and Pål Virik-Nilsen severely dented their XCAT World title ambitions after inverting their boat in today’s qualifying session in Dubai.
The 11 boats that had entered the three Chinese races in October were joined by a second Victory Team boat (33), Gary Ballough / Ahmed Al-Hameli) and Spirit of France (badged as Gaspeton 96) in the hands of Frenchman François Pinelli and Italian Lorenzo Bacchi.
The new partnership of Ballough / Al-Hameli claimed pole position from Victory 3 and Al Wasl (Arif al Zaffein and Nadir bin Hendi) made it a three-way Dubai lock-out of the podium places.
Team Australia failed to pass Q1 after their flip and they were joined by a disappointed Team Abu Dhabi (engine issues), 222 Offshore, Gasbeton, Raheeb and Lady Spain in the bottom half of the grid.
Swecat Racing and New Star were two of the boats to leave the fray in Q2 and that opened the door for the two Victory boats, Al Wasl and Caccia Engineering to storm into Q3.