Dubai 33 and Abu Dhabi 5 to battle against Gold Coast Australia and Swecat Racing in final round
Two UAE-based teams will join a team from Sweden and Australia in search of the runner-up position at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – the fourth and final round on the 2016 UIM XCAT World Series.
The final round will witness a field of 13 boats line-up off the breakwater and corniche of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) with the Victory Team duo of Nadir Bin Hendi and Arif Al Zaffain securing yet another world crown after winning all three previous rounds to amass a total of 129 points.
In Abu Dhabi, the Dubai duo will try out their brand-new Generation 2 boat that has been especially commissioned to adapt to the new four-stroke engines while enhancing boat safety and maximum engine performance.
With the title already settled for the season, much of the focus will now be on which boat manages the extra points to ensure the second best position in the overall standings.
Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton have two second places and one sixth in their Gold Coast Australia boat for a total of 79 points. But close on their heels is Swecat Racing’s Mikael Bengtsson and Erik Stark with 71 points following their two third places and a sixth in Lugano in Round Three.
“Second place is a great place to be in. We would liked to have been able to fight for the championship with Victory Team, however three of the four final rounds have been cancelled, which mathematically placed Victory Team in a position which cannot be overtaken,” observed Tom Barry-Cotter of the Gold Coast Australia team.
“We expect competition to be fierce in Abu Dhabi as lots of boats will be competing for the second place overall position. We will remain focused on securing that, and also fighting to be the Pole Position Champion – if we can accomplish these two things we can finish the season feeling like champions,” said Gold Coast Australia’s Tom Barry-Cotter.
But given the familiarity with home waters, the advantage will be heavily resting on the shoulders of Dubai 33 with Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali on board and the Abu Dhabi Team 5 pairing of Majed Al Mansoori and Rashed Al Tayer, who are with 70 and 64 points in third and fourth places, respectively.
Preliminary action has already got under way with a couple of free practice windows open on the race course from 9 am to 10.30 am and then from 10.30 am to 2 pm on Tuesday [November 15]. This will be followed by pre-technical scrutineering till 5 pm.
On Wednesday [November 16], registrations will open at 9 am followed by the drivers’ briefing at 12 noon, an official practice session from 3.45 to 5.30 pm followed by a mandatory team managers’ meeting to go through the UIM 2017 Rule Book at 6.30 pm.
On Thursday [November 17], the EMAAR Pole Position run will be held between 11 am and 12.30 pm, the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run from 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm followed by the prize presentation for the top finishers in the EMAAR Pole Position and DDF Speed Cat Run.
Friday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at 3.30 pm will be followed with the annual end-of-season gala dinner from 8 pm onwards.