Team Abu Dhabi have arrived in Hangzhou, around 200 kilometres from Shanghai, and will be hoping to carry on where they left off last weekend when action in the UIM XCAT World Championship resumes at this weekend’s Hangzhou Grand Prix.
Fresh from claiming first and third places in race one in Shanghai and a stunning one-two finish in the second race, the title battle has been thrown wide open. Team Abu Dhabi 4’s Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al-Mansoori and Team Abu Dhabi 5 colleagues Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori are raring to go with confidence high throughout the entire team.
The lead Team Abu Dhabi 4 boat now trails the Dubai Police crew of Nadir Bin Hendi and Arif Saif Al-Zafeen by just 20 points heading to the Hangzhou showdown on the Qiantang River in the Xiaoshan District of Hangzhou City. The gap had been a massive 58 points before last weekend’s triumph in Shanghai.
Team Abu Dhabi 5 is 11 points further behind and well in striking distance of the leaders, while Team Australia’s Norwegian crew of Pål-Virik Nilsen and Jan Trygve Braaten lie in fourth place in the Blue Roo, six points adrift of the third-placed Abu Dhabi boat.
Abu Dhabi XCAT Team Manager Talib Al Sayed commented:
We feel very positive going to the next round.
It is important for us to maintain our momentum for the championship.
I am very happy with the way the team is working but we must continue to push and increase the pressure on our rivals.
Shaun Torrente said:
Last weekend was great for the points and we just need to maintain the momentum.
Hopefully we need to have another good set-up for this race. We will know in a couple of days, I guess.
Now, with the big difference we have made up in the points, we can concentrate on performance and we don’t have to rely on the Dubai Police having a problem.
We just need to beat them and we have both our boats in position to do that.
There are two chances for Abu Dhabi and that is great.
I am confident that the team will have the boats perfect like they did last weekend.
I am looking forward to it.
It’s going to be a smooth water race again by the looks of it, so I guess our set-up will be pretty similar.
Dubai Police currently tops the standings in the UIM XCAT World Pole Position Championship by a single point from the Blue Roo.
Team Abu Dhabi 4 and 5 are in third and fifth positions, split by the 222 Offshore crew of Giovanni Carpitella and Joakhim Kumlin. Qualifying positions take on extra significance on some race courses where overtaking is difficult.
Hangzhou is the capital of the Zhejiang Province in Eastern China and marks the southern terminus of the ancient Grand Canal waterway, which originates in Beijing.
The city sits at the head of Hangzhou Bay, which separates Shanghai from Ningbo.
The nearby West Lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Action on the Qiantang River gets underway with official practice and the pole position qualifying sessions on Friday (October 19). Twelve boats are expected to line up at the start of the weekend’s racing activities.
Further practice will be permitted on Saturday morning and race one fires into life at 15.00hrs (GMT+8) on Saturday afternoon. The timetable is repeated on Sunday (October 21) with race two getting the green flag at 15.00hrs.
2018 UIM XCAT World Championship – positions after race 6:
1. Dubai Police 3 163pts
2. Team Abu Dhabi 4 143pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 132pts
4. Team Australia 8 126pts
5. 222 Offshore 10 107pts
6. Kuwait 17 75pts
7. HPI 96 74pts
8. Venus Bali/Viniexsport 46 73pts
9. New Star 9 65pts
10. Yacht Club Como 20 61pts
11. Swecat Racing 2 46pts
12. Videx/Ribot 22 40pts
13. Maritimo 12 0pts
2018 UIM XCAT Pole Position Championship – positions after three rounds:
1. Dubai Police 3 96pts
2. Team Australia 8 95pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi 4 67pts
4. 222 Offshore 10 52pts
5. Team Abu Dhabi 5 48pts
6. Swecat Racing 2 40pts
7. Yacht Club Como 20 31pts
7. New Star 9 31pts
9. HPI 96 30pts
10. Maritimo 12 26pts
11. Venus Bali/Viniexsport 46 21pts
12. Videx/Ribot 22 20pts
13. Kuwait 17 12pts
Top Photo: Marzia Benincasa