ADIMSC-based racers trail Team Australia and Dubai’s Victory Team in tense tussle
XIAMEN (CHINA): Tuesday, October 24: There is no respite for teams taking part in this year’s UIM XCAT World Championship. The third race meeting in the space of as many weekends fires into life in the Chinese port of Xiamen in Fujian Province this weekend (October 27-29). Eleven teams will tackle the fifth and sixth races in the eight-event calendar.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori suffered a minor setback in Weihai last Sunday, despite finishing the second race in fifth position. They were looking for a better result on the Yellow Sea to enable them to extend their slender advantage in the championship standings but collecting a lap penalty early in the race for a collision with a turn buoy. But Team Australia’s Blue Roo delivered back-to-back winning performances and that maximum haul of 70 points from two races has lifted Aussie Brett Luhrmann and his Norwegian co-pilot Pål Virik-Nilsen into a three-point series lead.
“We are halfway through the XCAT races in the new racing championship and have two in Xiamen this weekend and then the title-deciding two races in Dubai in December,” said Al-Tayer. “We are third in the championship behind the Blue Roo and Victory Team, but it’s so very close and exciting. Our team knows that the next two races will determine the strategy for Dubai. It’s a crunch weekend for everyone.”
Second position for the Victory Team’s Salem Al-Adidi and Eisa Al-Ali has lifted them above Team Abu Dhabi, although the leading three boats have pulled well clear of their rivals and the XCAT series is developing into a three-horse race.
222 Offshore, crewed by Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson, was branded with the name of the host city last weekend in Weihai, but the Italian-Australian duo are already 18 points behind Team Abu Dhabi and the best of a chasing pack that also includes the Fujairah Team’s Italian pairing of Serafino Barlesi and Alessandro Barone and the Swedish duo of Mikael Bengtsson and Erik Stark.
Etihad Airways is the official carrier for Team Abu Dhabi that is also supported by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and runs under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, advisor to the Head of State and chairman of the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club and under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, Vice-President and CEO of the ADIMSC. The racing team runs under the auspices of the ADIMSC and board member and general manager Salem Al-Remeithi.
Xiamen – the ‘Garden of the Sea’ - is an international seaport city on China’s south-east coast and is situated within close proximity to the Taiwan strait. It encompasses two islands and a large area on the mainland and is renowned for its attractive seascapes, tourism, surrounding mountains and parks.
In a revised schedule, official practice will be permitted in Xiamen on Friday afternoon, in readiness for pole position qualifying on Saturday morning. Race one of the Xiamen Grand Prix gets underway at 15.30hrs on Saturday afternoon (October 28) and race two fires into life at a similar time on Sunday (October 29).
2017 UIM XCAT World Championship – standings after race 4 of 8:
1. The Blue Roo (Team Australia) 8 118pts
2. Victory 3 115pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 104pts
4. 222 Offshore 10/Weihai–China 10 86pts
5. Fujairah Team 20 61pts
6. Swecat Racing 2 59pts
7. Caccia Engineering 22 48pts
8. Al Wasl 7 46pts
9. New Star 9 43pts
10. Raheeb 17 30pts
11. Lady Spain 46 16pts