Fastest lap in practice for Team Abu Dhabi 6; Carella debuts in an XCAT

 Teams taking part in the UIM Class 1 World Championship were permitted to practice on the course at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater for over an hour on Wednesday morning.

 The session certainly didn’t lack drama and a spectacular crash for Team Abu Dhabi 5 dampened local spirits, despite the fastest time of the session falling to Team Abu Dhabi 6. The stint also marked the first official XCAT appearance of triple UIM F1 H20 World Champion Alex Carella in Team Abu Dhabi 55.

 Official practice

 The Class 1 quintet were joined by the three XCATs of Raheeb 17’s Abdullatif Al-Omani and Khaled Burabee, Dubai 33’s Salem Al-Adidi and Eisa Al-Ali and Faleh Al-Mansoori and triple UIM F1 H2O World Champion Alex Carella in Team Abu Dhabi 5 – the Italian making his first appearance in an XCAT, although he had run five laps in testing earlier in the week with his team-mate.

 Team Abu Dhabi 5 and 6 were the first two boats on to the water in a slight breeze and the two carded laps of 2min 48.187sec and 2min 44.322sec, respectively. Relekta ran a 3min 01.46sec opener, but the session was red flagged soon afterwards when Al-Tayer and Al-Mansoori carried a little too much speed into the top turn by the Marina Mall approach road and spectacularly spun and flipped their MTi.

 “We had a little too much speed, spun the boat and we got some lift,” said Al-Tayer. “Thankfully we managed to get out very fast and are both perfectly okay.”

 Team Abu Dhabi’s team manager Randy Scism was realistic after the crash. “If it was just a case of drying everything out that would be perfect, but salt water, electrics and engines don’t go together. It will be a re-rig, two new motors and, hopefully, all by tomorrow!”

 With Victory 3 sitting out the session, Tomlinson and Ballough claimed the fastest lap of 2min 44.322sec, with Al-Tayer and Al-Mansoori in second and Relekta running a best tour of 2min 58.557sec to secure third. Aquasport managed to put in one lap of 3min 30.088sec in the closing seconds of the session. 

 Dubai 33 laid down the gauntlet with a potent opener of 3min 03.208sec in the XCAT category, but Carella and Al-Mansoori were impressive together and shaved chunks off their opening time in a six-lap session that finished with a best lap of 3min 06.895sec.

 Carella said: “It was great, the first time in the water with the XCAT. We only had five laps together before today. We found a good feeling together. It is good for me for Formula One also, because I have to drive the boat really softly and this is like my style in Formula One. I think we are in a good place, but we see tomorrow.”

 2016 UIM Class 1 World Championship – Official practice times (Wednesday):


1. Team Abu Dhabi 6 – John Tomlinson (USA)/Gary Ballough (USA)                2min 44.322sec

2. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE)    2min 48.187sec            

3. Zabo Racing-Relekta 91 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ian Blacker (GBR)                2min 58.557sec            

4. Aquasport 99 – Nick Huybens (BEL)/Daniel Cramphorn (GBR)                    3min 30.088sec

Victory 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE)                    DNS       


1. Dubai 33 – Salem Al-Adidi (UAE)/Eisa Al-Ali (UAE)                                              3min 03.205sec

2. Team Abu Dhabi 55 – Alex Carella (UAE)/Faleh Al-Mansoori (UAE)                3min 06.895sec

3. Raheeb 17 – Abdullatif Al-Omani (KWT)/Ahmed Al-Suwaidi (UAE)                  3min 25.899sec