Dubai Police extend XCAT Championship lead

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The Dubai Police crew of Nadir bin Hendi and Arif Saif Al-Zafeen led the second race of the weekend from pole position to secure a fourth successive XCAT victory by the margin of 7.47 seconds.

That means the Dubai-based crew now hold a championship lead of 48 points over the 222 Offshore crew of Italian Giovanni Carpitella and his Australian throttleman Darren Nicholson. They finished third for the second day running behind the two UAE boats.

Race 1
The Dubai Police crew of Nadir bin Hendi and Arif Saif Al-Zafeen led from start to finish at the opening race of the Stresa Grand Prix of Italy, round two of the 2018 UIM XCAT World Championship, on Lake Maggiore in Italy on Saturday.The contest was fought out over a start lap, 14 race laps, two long laps and 55.43Nm with the race starting with three groups of four boats.

Dubai Police held the lead from Team Abu Dhabi 4 after a strong initial challenge from the Blue Roo (Team Australia). But Dubai Police managed to edge into a good lead from Team Abu Dhabi 4 and 222 Offshore. The gap was 3.54 seconds between the leading two boats on the next lap, as Team Abu Dhabi 5 held eighth of the 12 boats and the Blue Roo took the first of their long laps on the second tour.

Dubai Police stretched their lead over Team Abu Dhabi 4 to over nine seconds and 222 Offshore retained a distant third position from New Star. Yacht Club Como reportedly hit a buoy after running both their long laps in ninth position, as Swecat Racing began to slow with engine issues and came under pressure from Team Abu Dhabi 5, which snatched fifth on lap six.

Neither Dubai Police nor Team Abu Dhabi 4 had taken either of their long laps by lap seven, as Swecat Racing retired with engine problems on lap nine and Team Abu Dhabi 4 began their first long lap and Team Abu Dhabi 5 climbed into fourth place and began to feel pressure from the Blue Roo.

Dubai Police opted for a first long lap with a lead of 34 seconds, safe in the knowledge that they would maintain a slight advantage over Team Abu Dhabi 4, although Torrente and Al-Mansoori opted for their second long lap to avoid running in dirty water and slipped to third behind 222 Offshore.

The Blue Roo began to run wide to avoid the wake from Team Abu Dhabi 5 as the race entered its closing stages and 222 Offshore took its second long lap. Team Abu Dhabi 4 regained second position but was running 34 seconds behind Dubai Police after 12 of the 16 laps. There were no changes at the top of the leader board and Team Abu Dhabi 4 and 5 maintained second and fourth positions heading towards the chequered flag.

Dubai Police stayed clear of trouble to confirm the win and extend their lead in the UIM XCAT World Championship, as the Blue Roo survived a heart-stopping moment three laps from the end to finish ahead of Team Abu Dhabi 5 in fourth. New Star also survived a spectacular hook en route to the finish but slipped to 11th.

Team Abu Dhabi 5’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori guided their American-built MTi to the chequered flag in sixth position and slip to fifth in the championship standings. Team Australia’s Blue Roo crew of Pål-Virik Nilsen and Jan Trygve Braaten finished fourth and Yacht Club Como’s Italian pairing of Serafino Barlesi and Alessandro Barone were fifth.

Race 2
The starting order for race two was determined by the finishing positions in race one.

Swecat Racing suffered ongoing technical problems and remained festooned at the pontoon trying to fix an engine issue under a red flag and damage sustained in the morning’s free practice sidelined New Star.

Dubai Police maintained their advantage over Team Abu Dhabi 4 through the start lap with the Blue Roo and 222 Offshore in third and fourth, but the Blue Roo managed to overtake Team Abu Dhabi 4 and snatch second position at the start of the 17-lap race. But Team Abu Dhabi 4 regained second before the end of an opening lap that saw Team Abu Dhabi 5 slip to seventh behind Yacht Club Como and Ribot.

Dubai Police began to edge 2.5 seconds clear of Team Abu Dhabi 4, as Yacht Club Como opted for a first long lap after catching the wake of the fourth-placed Blue Roo. 222 Offshore retained third place after three laps.

The championship leaders continued to pull away from Team Abu Dhabi 4, as the wind began to strengthen slightly out on the lake. Team Abu Dhabi 5 and HPI 96 both took their first long laps and Kuwait moved up to fourth temporarily as a result of several of the leaders also opting for long laps.

The Blue Roo regained fourth position behind runaway leaders Dubai Police, Team Abu Dhabi 4 and 222 Offshore after nine laps, but Kuwait fell back after taking the first of their mandatory long laps.

Dubai Police saw their advantage over Team Abu Dhabi 4 trimmed to 12 seconds once the Dubai crew had taken their first long lap, as Kuwait slipped to sixth place after running their long lap opener.

With the various long lap strategies nearing completion, Dubai Police continued to lead from Team Abu Dhabi 4, as 222 Offshore began to feel pressure from the Blue Roo in the battle for the final podium place. The gap narrowed for the lead considerably after Dubai Police ran their second long lap heading into the last few tours of the course.

But Dubai Police held on to confirm another maximum points haul and a second victory of the weekend, with Team Abu Dhabi 4 and 222 Offshore rounding off the podium positions and Team Abu Dhabi 5 reaching the chequered flag in sixth position. Both Ribot and HPI were lapped by the leaders.

Action in the UIM XCAT World Championship calendar resumes with a series of races in China in late summer.

2018 UIM XCAT World Championship – positions after race 4 (unofficial):
1. Dubai Police (3) – 140pts
2. 222 Offshore (10)  – 92pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi (4) – 82pts
4. Team Australia (8) – 74pts
5. Team Abu Dhabi (5) – 67pts
6. New Star (9) – 49pts
7. Kuwait (17) – 48pts
8. Venus Bali (46) – 47pts
9. Videx/Ribot (22) – 36pts
10. HPI (96) – 33pts
10. Yacht Club Como (20) – 33pts
12. Swecat Racing (2) – 26pts
13. Maritimo (12) – 0pts