The UAE’s Arif Saif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi were looking confidently towards the new season after clinching yet another world crown at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – the fourth and final round of the 2016 UIM XCAT World Series, held in Abu Dhabi on Friday [November 18].
Testing their brand-new Generation 2 boat that has been newly-built at their team base in Jebel Ali, Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi had to sit out through most of the final round after they flipped on the very second lap of the race. But all the hard work done during the first three rounds of the championships paid off as the Victory Team duo had already amassed 129 points to secure yet another world crown to their collection.
Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali made it a Dubai double as Dubai 33 won the fourth round over the weekend. That win took Al Adidi and Al Ali to 106 points and second place overall behind their stable-mates.
The Abu Dhabi 5 boat with Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori completed the podium in the overall standings with a second place in their home race to take their tally up to 98 points.
“The Abu Dhabi round has been one of our most disappointing races so far,” Al Zafeen said. “We wish we had the new boat performing for us throughout the week as we wanted to see how we could get a head-start for next season. But the turn at the first buoy may have been a bit too sharp and that led up flipping out of the race,” he rued.
Till that disastrous second lap on the breakwaters of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC), Victory Team had kept up its chase of leaders Dubai 33, while Abu Dhabi 5 lagged behind in a close third. “There is very little we can do to change anything now. The advantage is still with us and we hope to build up on this success for the new season,” Al Zaffain added.
Among the group of four chasing the runners-up spot, Mikael Bengsston and Erik Stark in their Swecat Racing boat, ended in seventh place to sign off in fourth overall for the 2016 season. And the Gold Coast Australia pairing of Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton took fifth overall after limping out towards the end of the race.
Overall Standings at the end of the 2016 UIM XCAT World Series that concluded with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday, November 18:
1. Victory Team (3) – Arif Saif Al Zaffain (UAE)/Nadir Bin Hendi (UAE) – 137 points
2. Dubai (33) – Salem Al Adidi (UAE)/Eisa Al Ali (UAE) – 106 points
3. Team Abu Dhabi (5) – Majed Al Mansoori (UAE)/Rashed Al Tayer (UAE) – 98 points
4. Swecat Racing (2) – Mikael Bengtsson (SWE)/Erik Stark (SWE) – 83 points
5. Gold Coast. Australia (11) – Tom Barry-Cotter (AUS)/Ross Willaton (AUS) – 82 points
6. T-Bone Station (10) – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Ahmed Al Hameli (UAE) – 77 points
7. Carpisa Yamamay (22) – Alfredo Amato (ITA)/Diego Testa (ITA) – 51 points
=7. The Blue Roo (8) – Brett Luhrmann (AUS)/Pal-Virik Nilsen (NOR) – 51 points
9. Lady Spain (46) – Joakim Kumlin (SWE)/Jay Price (USA) – 40 points
10. Yacht (96) – Saul Bubacco (ITA)/Francois Pinelli (FRA) – 39 points
11. Fujairah Team (20) – Serafino Barlesi (ITA)/Alessandro Barone (ITA) – 32 points
12. Six (6) – Matteo Nicolini (ITA)/Alfredo Nuzzo (ITA) – 25 points
13. Raheeb (17) – Abdullatif Al Omani (KWT)/Khaled Burabee (KWT) – 19 points
14. Team Abu Dhabi (4) – Majed Saeed Al Mansoori (UAE)/Rashed Mubarak Al Qamzi (UAE) – 8 points