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22 August 2015, Gold Coast, Australia – Celebrations were the order of the day for Giovanni Carpitella at the Gold Coast GP today. Not only did the Italian racer take home his inaugural Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run title, but it was also his birthday.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22:  Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson of T-Bone Station celebrate winning the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run on Day 1 of the Gold Coast GP - fourth round of the UIM XCAT World Series on August 22, 2015 in Gold Coast, Australia where 14 teams are competing. XCAT, short for extreme catamaran, is one of the most challenging and extreme forms of powerboat racing in the world. The XCAT World Series truly is a spectacle of speed, with teams of two taking each other on in two-engined carbon-fibre boats that tear around the course at speeds close to 200km per hour.  (Photo by Glenn Hunt/Getty Images for XCAT) *** Local Caption *** Giovanni Carpitella; Darren NicholsonCarpitella and Australian teammate Darren Nicholson overcame Marine Investimenti Sud (Serafino Barlesi and Alessandro Barone) in the final showdown of the head-to-head, drag race-style showdown in front of a crowd of 10,000 spectators at Doug Jennings Park.

But the drama of the day belonged to the Dubai duo of Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali who flipped their boat in the second round of the Speed Cat Run as they took on the XDubai team of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi.

Thanks to the speedy response of the safety team, the pilots emerged from the upturned boat completely unscathed – just a little shaken up, and chilly.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22:  Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali of Dubai crash whilst competing against Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Heindi of XDubai in the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run on Day 1 of the Gold Coast GP - fourth round of the UIM XCAT World Series on August 22, 2015 in Gold Coast, Australia where 14 teams are competing. XCAT, short for extreme catamaran, is one of the most challenging and extreme forms of powerboat racing in the world. The XCAT World Series truly is a spectacle of speed, with teams of two taking each other on in two-engined carbon-fibre boats that tear around the course at speeds close to 200km per hour.  (Photo by Tertius Pickard/Getty Images for XCAT)“It was a combination of factors. We were going at top speed because it was the finish line. And at that point the waves were getting higher so it all happened very quickly. But we’re both perfectly fine,” said Al Adidi, who is no stranger to finding himself upside-down in the boat. The last time was at the Napoli GP last May.

Meanwhile, back in the knock-out action, T-Bone Station had got the better of Lady Spain (Jay Price and Shaun Torrente) in their first round match-up before going on to beat Team Abu Dhabi (Rashed Al Tayer and Faleh Al Mansoori) in the second. The penultimate round saw them defeating Six (Tomaso Polli and Matteo Nicolini) before their clash with Marine Investimenti Sud in the final.

“I checked the wind and the tide and I decided a set-up on my boat according to this,” explained Carpitella. “It needed to be both a balanced boat and a fast one. And it worked because we were really steady but still we got to 185km/hour in just 1100m of the course, starting from 40km/hour.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22:  Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson of T-Bone Station celebrate winning the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run on Day 1 of the Gold Coast GP - fourth round of the UIM XCAT World Series on August 22, 2015 in Gold Coast, Australia where 14 teams are competing. XCAT, short for extreme catamaran, is one of the most challenging and extreme forms of powerboat racing in the world. The XCAT World Series truly is a spectacle of speed, with teams of two taking each other on in two-engined carbon-fibre boats that tear around the course at speeds close to 200km per hour.  (Photo by Glenn Hunt/Getty Images for XCAT) *** Local Caption *** Giovanni Carpitella; Darren Nicholson“I was very glad to be able to sing my anthem on the podium. I could have sung it another two or three times this year,” added Carpitella, referring to the bad run of luck he has had with his boat when mechanical problems meant he lost out from potentially winning positions in the last few rounds.

XDubai won the race-off for third place against Six to complete the podium.

Racing continues tomorrow with practice in the morning and then the big race, the Gold Coast GP, scheduled for 2pm. Even larger crowds are expected to descend on Doug Jennings Park for the speedy spectacular and the great carnival atmosphere. Entry for the general public is free of charge.

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