23 May 2014, Naples, Italy – Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi’s new Fazza boat was put to the test for the first time in official practice at the third round of the UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series in Naples, Italy today. And while, they may not have been entirely satisfied with the set-up just yet, the duo still managed to record the quickest lap of the day, finishing in 2:36.50.
That put them a massive three seconds ahead of the second-placed Cantiere Postiglione team of Alfredo Amato and Marco Pennesi – who are racing in their home city this weekend. They finished with a quickest lap of 2:39.61 while fellow-Italians Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in T-bone Station were only marginally slower, in 2:39.92. “It was good although we had a few issues at the start because this is the first time we are testing the boat,” said Bin Hendi afterwards. “We had some engine problem and a set-up problem. The water conditions are totally different. We dropped a lot of RPM. I think it was the same for everyone – we dropped around 600 RPM, also because of the excess weight I think. We’ll have to see tomorrow what we can do to achieve some more RPM. “This is a new boat – not the one we used in the previous races because we had to send that to America to race. So it’s a completely different set-up. We didn’t get a chance to test in Dubai because of shipping it here so we’ll see what we can do to improve it. “I can’t say we’re 100 per cent confident because everybody is always pushing, so we have to always be alert and push to the maximum to see how we can perform better and better every time,” he added.
Finishing with the fifth fastest time of the afternoon was the pair of Tomaso Polli and Matteo Nicolini in Six, who claimed victory in the last XCAT race they contested in Italy (in Arona last year) and who are currently third on the overall Series standings. “It’s very dark out there and you can’t read the sea conditions very well,” admitted Nicolini afterwards. “When you reach the turn after the straight line, there are big waves out there. I think there are waves from the big ships that are passing. We did an incredible jump on that – coming back and jumping on the back of it as well so it’s very, very tricky but I’m happy we managed it. “Regarding the time, I think we’ll manage to finish higher up tomorrow in the race for pole position. We need to change the set up with better propellers and also the sea conditions will change completely tomorrow. Hopefully it will be clear so we can read the sea better,” added Nicolini, explaining the duo have made several change to the boat – to the hull and the engine position – since the last round in Fujairah in February. “I think the championship is still open. We have five more venues and in these venues anything can happen. The important thing is to finish in a good position, and we’re looking to have a good race on Sunday for sure to be able to maintain our place in the top three.” Saturday will see the race for Emaar pole position taking place at 1pm while the thrilling head-to-head Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run will be contested at 4pm. The Napoli GP, which will be attended by football legend Diego Maradona, who spent much of his playing career in Napoli, will begin at 3.30pm on Sunday.