A strong field of 13 boats, including a brand-new Russian entry along with a custom-built vessel from defending world champions Victory Team will start the final round of the 2016 UIM XCAT World Series in Abu Dhabi next week.
To be held off the breakwater and cornice of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC), the Russian entry for this final round will be led by Mikhail Kitashev and Dmitry Vandyshev in their brand-new ‘New Star’ boat that has been built by Victory Team at their base in Jebel Ali.
“For us this has been a brand-new experience so far. We took part in the Lugano Grand Prix and the success of coming in seventh in our very first race made us take very serious notice of this championship,” Kitashev said.
“Now with a brand-new boat that has the mark of a world champion builder like Victory Team, we want to push and see where we stand,” he added.
Joining them with the latest innovation for the final round of the season will be Dubai’s Victory Team of Nadir Bin Hendi and Arif Al Zaffain in their brand-new Generation 2 boat. This boat is latest addition to the XCAT scene and has been especially commissioned to adapt to the new four-stroke engines. Also included in the boat is enhanced safety along with minor tweaks to have maximum performance.
So far, and with three rounds gone, the Dubai-based Victory Team of Nadir Bin Hendi and Arif Al Zaffain have been dominant once again while winning all three races held this season. Bin Hendi and Al Zaffain won the season opener in Fujairah and followed this up with an outright standing on the podium at the Dubai Grand Prix in April.
And then at the Lugano Grand Prix held in the first week of June, the childhood friends from Dubai completed the sweep before turning their attention to preparing the brand-new boat at the Victory Team workshop in Jebel Ali.
“Victory Team has been the trend-setters in all forms of powerboat racing. Over the years, we have proved that we have the best with us, including a breed of world champions coupled with our energy to be at the top of our game,” Victory Team Manager Ragesh Elayadeth, related.
“The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is so much like a home race for our experienced world champion crew of Nadir and Arif, and I am confident they will bring home full points,” he stated.
Going into the final round of the season, at least four teams are now in the fight to decide who will occupy the second spot overall and end runners-up to Victory Team.
Gold Coast Australia’s Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton are hot on the heels of Swecat Racing’s Mikael Bengtsson and Erik Stark with just eight points separating the two boats.
Gold Coast Australia has 79 points while the Niklas Sjoo-managed boat from Sweden is breathing down their neck with 71 points. The other two boats in the fray are Dubai 33 with Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali in charge, followed by the Abu Dhabi Team 5 duo of Majed Al Mansoori and Rashed Al Tayer with 70 and 64 points, respectively.