Al-Zafeen, bin Hendi hold advantage but Al-Tayer, Al-Mansoori aim for big finish in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


Abu Dhabi, 26 November, 2015: The stage is set for a gripping finale to the 2015 UIM XCAT World Series tomorrow (Friday) as Team Abu Dhabi look to snatch a second world powerboat title inside a month tomorrow.

After today’s pole position qualifying and the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run, XDubai’s Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi hold a slender 5-point lead over Rashed Al-Tayer and Faleh Al-Mansoori in Team Abu Dhabi 5 heading into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

 The home pairing will be hoping to deliver another world title to the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) to add to the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship triumph earned by John Tomlinson and Gary Ballough earlier this month.

 The two Team Abu Dhabi boats will start the sixth and final round of the series from fourth and fifth positions, with XCAT newcomers, Majed Al-Mansoori and Rashed Al-Qamzi, qualifying just behind their more experienced team-mates.

 Dubai’s Salem Al-Adidi and Eisa Al-Ali snatched pole position in the dying minutes of a dramatic 90-minute qualifying session. They deprived T-Bone Station’s Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson of top spot with a final lap of 2min 27.711sec. X-Dubai qualified in third.

 “Calm water conditions were not ideal for us and our set-up for the pole position,” said Team Abu Dhabi’s Al-Mansoori. “This definitely gave a slight advantage to T-Bone Station and Dubai and that showed in the qualifying times. But we are well placed in fourth and have X-Dubai in our sights for the start of the race tomorrow.”

 Matteo Nicolini and Tomaso Polli are still in with a chance of putting a spanner in the two-pronged UAE challenge for XCAT title honours and qualified the Six boat in ninth place.

 They also edged their second round Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run against Team Abu Dhabi 5 to give the initiative to XDubai in the series standings. Team Abu Dhabi 4 also missed out on a quarterfinal place after losing out to XDubai in their second round heat.

 The two Abu Dhabi boats had beaten Gold Coast Australia and Fujairah Team in their respective first round drag heats.

 XDubai reached the final at the expense of Six and faced T-Bone Station. Six lined up with Dubai in the third-placed race and the local crew edged a tight contest. But there was no stopping T-Bone Station in the final and they made a better start against XDubai to claim maximum bonus points for winning the Speed Cat Run.

 With their left engine issue resolved overnight, Abu Dhabi 5 carded the opening lap time of 2min 32.73sec in Pole Position to set the marker for the rest of the field. Team-mates Al-Mansoori and Rashed Al-Qamzi were also into a competitive pace early in the session and topped the leader board after a quarter of the qualifying stint, with Abu Dhabi 5 slipping to fifth place behind Abu Dhabi 4, Dubai, T-Bone Station and Lady Spain.

 In calm waters and warm sunshine, the American duo of Jay Price and Shaun Torrente continued to settle into the groove in Lady Spain, but there was no immediate sign of XDubai on the race course. The Dubai team mechanics were working frantically to resolve an ongoing engine issue in the dry pits to enable Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi to record a qualifying lap time.

 Dubai claimed provisional pole position after 40 minutes of the session and that was the incentive for Team Abu Dhabi 5 to return to race action and regain third place, as XDubai took to the water for the first time and slotted into sixth place.

 T-Bone Station were in fine form and leapt to the top of the qualifying leader board with a lap of 2in 28.128sec heading into the final 30 minutes and XDubai improved markedly soon afterwards and moved ahead of the two Team Abu Dhabi boats and into second.  XDubai continued its momentum into the closing minutes and snatched provisional pole position with a stunning lap of 2min 28.083sec to pip T-Bone Station.

 But, there was to be further drama as the XDubai hull returned to the pits. T-Bone Station benefited from smooth waters to regain top spot with a lap of 2min 27.804sec heading into the remaining eight minutes. Abu Dhabi 5 moved ahead of their team-mates into fourth and Dubai’s Al-Adidi and Al-Ali saved their best until last and a flying lap of 2min 27.771sec deprived T-Bone Station of pole position as the chequered flag was raised.

 Team Abu Dhabi is supported by Etihad Airways as official carrier and sponsor. The team 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 ADIMSC.

 Tomorrow (Friday), teams will be permitted to carry out final checks and adjustments to their boat set-ups during a one-hour practice session from 10.00hrs. A water show to entertain spectators then precedes the start of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, scheduled for 15.30hrs.

 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Pole Position result


1. Dubai                                              2min 27.771sec

2. T-Bone Station                                2min 27.804sec

3. XDubai                                           2min 28.083sec

4. Abu Dhabi Team 5                          2min 29.741sec

5. Abu Dhabi Team 4                          2min 29.950sec

6. Lady Spain                                      2min 30.160sec

7. Marine Investimenti Sud                2min 31.405sec

8. Yachts                                             2min 32.642sec

9. Six                                                   2min 33.616sec

10. Swecat Racing                              2min 35.355sec

 2015 UIM XCAT WORLD SERIES – current leading standings

1. XDubai                                                   148 pts

2. Team Abu Dhabi 5                                  143 pts

3. Six                                                           126 pts

 Timetable of events – Friday, November 27

10.00-11.00                                         Official practice

14.45-15.25                                         Water show

15.30 onwards                                    Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


 1.      Rashed Al-Tayer and Faleh Al-Mansoori in Team Abu Dhabi 5 – battling for the XCAT world title in a thrilling climax to the season in the UAE capital.

 2.    Majed Al-Mansoori and Rashed Al-Qamzi – another good showing in Team Abu Dhabi 4