Arif Al Zaffain and Nader Bin Hendi drove ‘Dubai Police’ to pole position in Stresa on Friday afternoon.
The pairing lead the 2018 UIM XCAT World Championship after they claimed back-to-back wins in Fujairah in April and are now in a strong position to extend that lead on Lake Maggiore this weekend.
Team Abu Dhabi 4 and 222 Offshore staked early claims to pole position on Lake Maggiore followed by the Blue Roo – 1.674 seconds behind – Team Abu Dhabi 5, Kuwait, New Star, Venus Bali and Yacht Club Como. HPI 96 was the last of the boats to start their first qualifying session.
Team Abu Dhabi 4 then moved to the top of the standings with a run of 2min 27.255sec, as 222 Offshore trailed by less than a second and the Blue Roo held third place from Team Abu Dhabi 5 and Kuwait at the end of the first session where reaching the correct set-up was crucial.
After a 15-minute break, the all-important final half-hour session would determine pole position.
The important 30-second final stint fired into life and Yacht Club Como laid down the gauntlet with a 2min 32sec tour.
Swecat Racing started well with a run of 2min 29.59sec only for Team Abu Dhabi 4 to snatch provisional pole with a time of 2min 29.54sec.
Yacht Club Como then ran even faster to snatch the lead with a run of 2min 28.661sec and the Blue Roo slotted into second with a tour of 2min 28.9sec.
The Italian’s lead was short lived, however, and Dubai Police stormed to the top with a fastest run of 2min 27.7sec and demoted Team Abu Dhabi 4 to fourth.
The Blue Roo (2min 27.370sec) then moved four-tenths of a second ahead of Dubai Police to snatch the lead with four minutes of the session remaining, only to see Dubai Police regain the advantage on the very next lap with a 2min 27.163sec.
Yacht Club Como held third, Team Abu Dhabi 4 was fourth and Swecat Racing qualified in fifth. Team Abu Dhabi 5 qualified in ninth behind sixth-placed New Star, 222 Offshore qualified in seventh and the HPI Racing Team in eighth.
But Al-Zafeen and Bin Hendi were not to be denied and Dubai Police confirmed pole position with an even quicker lap of 2min 26.962sec in the dying seconds.