10 June 2014, Dubai – Pål Virik Nilsen is relishing the prospect of returning to action at the fourth round of the UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series in Stresa, Italy in a couple of weeks. The Norwegian pilot will be switching positions, from throttleman to driver, and joining newcomers Lady Spain (Altman Marine) for the race from 20-22 June.
“It’s really good to be back. To miss a couple of races is a nightmare and so bad that I didn’t want to watch the action on screen or see photos,” admitted Virik Nilsen. Speaking about what he’s been busy with since his last XCAT race, in Dubai in January, he explained: “I have done a lot of training to be prepared for when a new XCAT opportunity would come my way. “I did some bicycle competitions to maintain that adrenaline kick. I also worked to serve my personal sponsors and to get some new ones back in Norway as usual.” And as for his new position in the boat, he added: “Now I’ll be the driver. The Italian, Marco Fabrizi, will take the sticks and trim. “I love the challenge and last time I drove was in Class-1 back in 2006. But I have done several races in F2 and F1 in the last few seasons so I am okay with the wheel. “I think it’s a positive that I have done the throttle job in this XCAT boat before. That means we can easier adapt our driving styles together. It’s just a matter of starting from scratch and moving forward together in the boat.”
Stresa was the venue of Virik Nilsen’s first ever race in the UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series – when he teamed up with Australian Tom Barry Cotter in the Dubai Duty Free boat in 2013. “I love the course and hopefully the wind will blow a little, but I put my money on dead flat water. Our boat likes that though. And as usual the start will be very important. We have a nice boat for the start so it will be interesting,” he said. “I think Stresa and Italy is the best place to race. The people coming to watch are so addicted to the sport. That, for sure, affects all if us working in the Series in a positive way. “I hope one day all our venues will have these kind of spectators and fans. If the Series continues growing as it is now, I am sure that will happen,” added the Norwegian. The Fazza duo of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi currently lead the UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series with 1200 points and have been in phenomenal form this season – remaining unbeaten in the first three rounds of the Series. The Dubai team of Jay Price and Sultan Al Dhaheri are second with 620 points and the Italian combination of Tomaso Polli and Matteo Nicolini third on 440. After just one race in the Series (in Naples last month), Lady Spain are currently in 15th spot overall.