Team Abu Dhabi 4’s Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al-Mansoori earned a second successive victory in race two of the Hangzhou Grand Prix on the Qiantang River on Sunday and now lead the UIM XCAT World Championship by nine points.
Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori reached the chequered flag in second place to complete the second stunning 1-2 finish for the team in a week after a similar success in race two in Shanghai last Sunday.
Torrente and Al-Mansoori mastered their long lap strategy to perfection and led from start-to-finish to see off their rivals and continue a remarkable turn around in fortunes in what is developing into a thrilling XCAT season finale with four races yet to come in Xiamen and Dubai.
The Dubai Police crew of Nadir Bin Hendi and Arif Saif Al-Zafeen recovered from a slow start to close in on Team Abu Dhabi 5 and seal the final podium position, while the 222 Offshore crew of Italy’s Giovanni Carpitella and Australia’s Darren Nicholson were fourth.
Team Australia’s Blue Roo crew of crew of Pål-Virik Nilsen and Jan Trygve Braaten suffered engine issues that dented their title ambitions and they struggled to the finish in eighth place.
A delighted Faleh Al-Mansoori said: “I am very happy with my friend Shaun. He did a good job today. The World Championship is not easy. We work hard every time and this is another fantastic result for us.”
Torrente added: “We are in the driving seat now. We are not playing catch up. This championship is in our hands and is ours to lose. We will enjoy this win, but we must retain our concentration and focus for the next races.”
Team Abu Dhabi 4 and 5 made good starts to the second race where long lap strategies were crucial. Humid and overcast conditions greeted crews to the 16-lap race on the Qiantang River.
Team Abu Dhabi 4 held the lead from their team-mates from the start, as Dubai Police trailed in their wake with 222 Offshore in close attendance and Kuwait in fifth place after completing their long laps. Team Abu Dhabi 5 briefly gained the lead on lap 10 when Team Abu Dhabi 4 completed their second long lap, but Torrente and Faleh Al-Mansoori hit the front again soon afterwards.
The Blue Roo was struggling with engine issues but managed to overtake Pastamato at the rear of the field to regain 10th position, as the two Team Abu Dhabi boats continued to lead from Dubai Police and 222 Offshore heading into lap 12. Dubai Police began to close in on Team Abu Dhabi 5 heading into the closing stages of the race, but the gap widened to six seconds with two laps remaining.
Team Abu Dhabi 4 duly stayed clear of trouble over the remaining laps to seal a second successive victory and a commanding lead in the title race after a remarkable turn around in fortunes since the XCAT series headed to China last week. Team Abu Dhabi 5 confirmed a 1-2 for the ADIMSC and Dubai Police rounded off the podium places.
Action resumes in the UIM XCAT World Championship in Xiamen next weekend.
2018 Hangzhou Grand Prix – race 2 result (unofficial):
1. Team Abu Dhabi 4 – Shaun Torrente (USA)/Faleh Al-Mansoori (UAE) 35pts
2. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) 30pts
3. Dubai Police 3 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir bin Hendi (UAE) 26pts
4. 222 Offshore 10 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Darren Nicholson (AUS) 22pts
5. New Star 9 – Mikhail Kitashev (RUS)/Dmitry Vandyshev (RUS) 18pts
6. Videx 22 – Alfredo Amato (ITA)/Daniele Martignoni (ITA) 15pts
7. Yacht Club Como 20 – Serafino Barlesi (ITA)/Domenico Caldarola (ITA) 12pts
8. The Blue Roo 8 – Pål-Virik Nilsen (NOR)/Jan Trygve Braaten (NOR) 10pts
9. Pastamato 46 – Andrea Comello (ITA)/Joakim Kumlin (SWE) 8pts
10. Kuwait 17 – Abdullatef Al-Omani (KUW)/Moustafa Al-Dashti (KUW) 6pts
11. HPI 96 – François Pinelli (FRA)/Giuseppe Schiano di Cola (ITA) 5pts
Swecat Racing 2 – Erik Stark (SWE)/Sebastien Groth (SWE) DNS
2018 UIM XCAT World Championship – positions after race 8 (unofficial):
1. Team Abu Dhabi 4 213pts
2. Dubai Police 3 204pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 184pts
4. Team Australia 8 162pts
5. 222 Offshore 10 159pts
6. HPI 96 97pts
7. Kuwait 17 93pts
8. New Star 9 91pts
9. Venus Bali/Viniexsport/Pastamato 46 81pts
10. Yacht Club Como 20 79pts
11. Videx/Ribot 22 65pts
12. Swecat Racing 2 46pts
13. Maritimo 12 0pts