19 November 2015, Dubai – Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali put their soggy last round of the UIM XCAT World Series behind them by producing the quickest time of the day in official practice ahead of the fifth round of the Series in Dubai this weekend.
The pair, who race in the number seven Dubai boat, managed to flip over twice at the Gold Coast GP in Australia in August – once in the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run and then again during the main race, scuppering any chances of collecting all-important Series points.
But they made the best of smooth home conditions on Thursday to complete a fastest lap of 2:37.25. The French Yachts team of Francois Pinelli and Saul Bubacco were second fastest in 2:37.62 and Swecat (Mikael Bengtsson and Erik Stark) third in 2:37.73 to complete a top three all within .5 of a second of one another.
Current Series leaders XDubai were fourth fastest in 2:37.76 but that’ll be no cause for concern for Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir bin Hendi who only completed two laps and certainly still have plenty in the tank.
“Today was a wonderful day. The weather was very nice with flat water so it was our day – good for our boat,” explained Al Adidi. “Because it was free practice we just wanted to check our engine and make sure everything was working in the boat because we changed everything after Australia, and to do a few laps.”
Al Ali added: “Now we have to prepare everything for tomorrow because pole position is very important. But today was also very important because we needed to trust our boat.”
As for any distressing memories of the Gold Coast lurking in the backs of their minds, Al Ali reckoned: “I have forgotten every everything. It is another day and another race.”
Al Adidi agreed: “We are just thinking about today and tomorrow. Yesterday is yesterday and finished. Today we had to check that everything was working after that flip and everything is fine.
“Hopefully we can finish this weekend in the top three. With no flips.”
Racing continues on Friday with the race for Pole Position taking place at 9.30am. The thrilling head-to-head Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run will then kick off at 3.30pm, also on Friday. The Speed Cat Run follows a drag race format in a 1km long all out spectacle of speed.
The main race, the Dubai GP will take place on Saturday, 21 November at 2pm.