Torrente and Al Mansoori won the first round

Team Abu Dhabi’s reigning XCAT World Champions Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori showed that they remain the crew to beat after setting the early pace in the Grand Prix of Italy.

Team Abu Dhabi began the defence of their 2018 XCAT World Championsip title with a victory in Stresa on Saturday afternoon.

Starting race one in third place after the qualifying shoot out, Torrente and Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 4 made a superb start and then never looked back.

Torrente, switching between the F1H20 series which he leads, last weekend’s World Endurance Championships where he was part of Team Abu Dhabi’s winning team, and the XCATS, takes everything in his stride.

“It’s a very hectic time but the order of the events is good for my style, F1 being first and obviously the most difficult and the most demanding,” he said:“Last weekend my focus was on the endurance and this weekend all I’m thinking about is XCATS. I just switch my mind from one to the next.”

Setting the fifth fastest lap (2:30.417) in today’s second practice session, Rashed Al Tayer said; “My big aim ultimately is to win the world championship. But what makes Team Abu Dhabi so strong is how committed we all are to work together for the benefit of the team. We think as a team, not as individual drivers.

“Majed and I are very close, both in the boat and out of the water. We motivate each other. Our priority when we arrived in Italy was to be at a high level in all that we do; starting with testing the engine and propellers in practice to get everything right for the first race.”

The Pole Sitters, Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton in Maritimo, took second, after dropping down to 5th after the start; but made their way through the field with a combination of speed and a canny use of electing when to take the longer laps.

The Dubai Police combination of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi took the third podium place.