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23 March 2013, Dubai – Westerlund Racing sprung the surprise of the season so far with an unexpected win in the third heat of the UIM XCAT World Series at DIMC this afternoon. The Swedish pair of Joakim Kumlin and Daniel Svenson, who started in fourth position, powered their way to victory, covering the 13 laps on a rough course in a time of 43:06.84. “This is definitely a surprise. It was not expected,” said a beaming Svenson after the race. “We had a good start. I think we were the second boat behind Fazza at the first turn. It was a little bit rough but we like it when it’s rough so these were really our conditions. “When we started the race everything felt just fantastic and I kind of felt that this could end very well,” added the throttleman. “But Fazza is a very fast boat and they ran fantastically well at the start, but we somehow managed to stay in contact with them and so when they slowed down we passed them very quickly.” There was disappointment for Series leaders Fazza. Starting in third position, Arif Al Zafeen and Mohamad Al Merri stormed their way into the lead by the first turn and opened up a sizeable gap on the chasing pack. But a gear box problem soon put paid to any plans of a third consecutive race victory and the pair had to simply limp around the course for the remainder of the race, finishing in an unfamiliar 10th position, to claim their all-important Series points. “We felt there was something abnormal in our boat – it was the gear box. We heard a noise and saw the gear box drop in the water,” said Al Merri. “But thanks to God, we could still finish the race and we are still Series leaders with two wins, so next race we will try to do our best.” Meanwhile, overtaking Fazza to take the lead is not something Svenson will forget easily. “It was a new feeling in XCAT because this is the first win for us,” he said. “But then we had number 33 [Gabon33] on our back and they were really close so we could never relax. We just had to push and focus so when I saw the white flag which meant the last lap, I got the feeling that this could finish very, very well. Now we know we are competitive, especially in these conditions so it will be a thrill to go in the next race,” he added. With Fazza out of contention, the Gabon33  team of Salim Al Adidi and Talib Al Sayed, who had started in second position, set about chasing down Westerlund Racing and came within just a few seconds of the eventual race winners but were content with their second place finish. “For the last four laps we were very close to the leaders but there was a small problem with the engine so we didn’t want to push it too much,” said Al Adidi after finishing in a time of 43:15.17. “But I am very happy with second place. It wasn’t a normal race – it was very touch so I am happy.” Third place went to Spirit of Dubai with Rashid Al Marri and Salem Al Hamli taking the final podium spot after finishing well behind the top two, in 44:54.70 Fazza remain overall leaders of the series with 830 point, with Mouawad second with 671. After today’s win, Westerlund Racing have made a massive leap up the standings, from 13th to fifth overall. “From a sporting point of view, we had one of the best races of the Series so far. Taking the sea conditions into account, teams had to find the best set-up, and that’s not an easy task,” said Sid Bensalah, Secretary General of the World Professional Powerboating Association (WPPA) and UIM XCAT World Series Chief Officer. “Teams really gave us a great show on the water. The crowds were thrilled and the most important thing is that all 12 boats that started the race, finished safely. “It was fantastic to see the Westerlund team on the podium after the misery of last season and I’m sure that this will boost their confidence for the races to come. Also, congratulations go to Gabon for the first ever appearance in the XCAT Series,” added Bensalah.

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