ALL EYES ON ABU DHABI AS XCAT WORLD SERIES HEADS FOR THRILLING GRAND FINALE

ALL EYES ON ABU DHABI AS XCAT WORLD SERIES HEADS FOR THRILLING GRAND FINALE

Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club sets great stage for showdown as Al-Tayer, Al-Mansoori chase world title

Abu Dhabi, 23 November, 2015:  The eyes of the offshore powerboat racing world will be fixed firmly on Abu Dhabi this weekend, with the 2015 UIM XCAT World Series set to deliver a fascinating grand finale to the season in the UAE capital.

 Taking place under the patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Advisor to the UAE President and Chairman of Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC), the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has all the ingredients of a classic world championship showdown.

 Rashid Al-Tayer and Faleh Al-Mansoori, who will be attempting to secure a second world powerboat title for Team Abu Dhabi within a month, enter their home event just one point behind the defending champions, XDubai’s Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi.

 It seems inevitable that the XCAT world title will remain in the UAE, although third-placed Matteo Nicolini and Tomaso Polli in Six could emerge as champions should the two crews ahead of them encounter the kind of terminal problems which stopped half of the boats in Saturday’s penultimate round of the series in Dubai.

 “We have all the ingredients of a classic finish to what has been a wonderful season of UIM XCAT World Series racing,” said Salem Al Rumaithi, Assistant Director General of Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.

 “We are thrilled, as a club, that the championship is so finely balanced, and that we are guaranteed an exciting finish to the season here in Abu Dhabi, which is firmly established as one of the world’s leading venues for powerboat racing, and water sport in general.

 “Naturally, we are very enthusiastic about the prospect of Team Abu Dhabi winning the XCAT world title. But our hope also is that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix showcases the best in extreme catamaran motor sport, and that we see the UAE flag raised by the champions at the finish.”

 Added Rumaithi: “We are very grateful to Etihad Airways for their great support as sponsors and official carrier, and to Marina Mall, and we want to give them a race weekend to remember.”

 Ronan Morgan, CEO of the World Professional Powerboating Association, exclusive promoters of the XCAT World Series, said: “We are very happy with the way the season has unfolded and are naturally delighted that we have such a great finish in prospect.

 “This is so fitting in view of the role played by Abu Dhabi in providing such a great stage for international motor sport overall, and the part played by Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, the home club of Team Abu Dhabi, in the UIM XCAT World Series success story.”

Al-Tayer and Faleh Al-Mansoori in Team Abu Dhabi 5 are attempting to become the second crew from ADIMSC to secure a world powerboat title on home waters in the space of three weeks following the success of John Tomlinson and Gary Ballough in capturing the UIM Class 1 world title earlier this month.

 Their championship prospects were boosted with third place in Dubai after Al-Zafeen and bin Hendi, who had held a 26-point lead, failed to finish the race. Five other boats – Fujairah Team, Marine Investmenti Sud, Lady Spain, Dubai and Yachts – also dropped out, while Gold Coast Australia failed to start because of damage caused to the boat in the build-up.

But all of Saturday’s casualties are expected to be in action in Abu Dhabi in a starting line-up of 15 boats, including Abu Dhabi 4  which Majed Al-Mansoori and Rashed Al-Qemzi took to sixth place on their XCAT series debut in Dubai.

Three days of spectacular XCAT action gets under way at 3.30pm on Wednesday with the Abu Dhabi Match Race. Staged to mark UAE National Sports Day, this will take the form of an exciting head-to-head drag race knockout contest over a one-kilometre course.

The pole position race to decide the Grand Prix starting order gets under way at 11am on Thursday, and this will be followed at 3.30pm by the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run, another spectacular drag race with bonus championship points at stake.

After a one-hour official practice session starting at 11am on Friday the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix gets under way at 3.30pm to decide the 2015 UIM XCAT World Series.

Spectators drawn to ADIMSC over the three days will be able to watch the racing from a grandstand and giant screen, with traditional tents offering henna, a Kids Zone for face painting, hospitality areas and raffle prizes.

2015 UIM XCAT WORLD SERIES – CURRENT STANDINGS

1. XDubai                                           139 pts           

2. Team Abu Dhabi 5                          138 pts 

3. Six                                                   120 pts  

4. Swecat Racing                                88 pts 

5. T-Bone Station                                84 pts 

6. Videx                                              75pts

7. Team Saracen Australia                  67 pts

8. Dubai                                              66 pts 

9. Yachts                                             60 pts 

10. Marine Investimenti Sud              53 pts 

10. Lady Spain                                    53 pts