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13 June 2015, Cascais – The XDubai team of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir bin Hendi waited until the dying seconds of this morning’s Pole Position session to book top spot in Sunday’s Cascais GP.

XDubaiIn a fiercely contested battle, the defending Series champions overtook current Series leaders Abu Dhabi Team, with a fastest lap time of 2:33.70 with only seconds left in the session.

Their decision to go for one final lap paid off with Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi making the most of the wind having died down slightly.

Abu Dhabi Team (Rashed Al Tayer and Faleh Al Mansoori) will start Sunday’s race in second spot, having recorded a time of 2:35.46, and the French team Yachts (Francois Pinelli and Saul Bubacco) will start in third after a lap of 2:36.89.

Taking up the all-important final spot in the top gate will be T-Bone Station (Giovanni Carpitella and Marco Pennesi).

“The conditions changed a lot. It was getting better but at times the wind increased again so it was tough,” admitted an elated Al Zaffain afterwards.

2015 UIM   World Powerboat Championship CASCAIS GRAND PRIX PORTUGAL UAE - 12th to 14th June 2015 © Raffaello Bastiani / WPPA“But I felt that the very last minutes would be the best so we went to play our last chance and that’s when we got the last two seconds off our time that we needed and we got first place.
“It’s a very good race track. It’s more like a Formula 1 track.”

Speaking about Sunday’s race, which kicks off at 3pm local time, Al Zaffain added: “I think tomorrow there will be a lot of competition, especially for the drivers and not so much for the throttlemen.

“The start will not be easy because I have seen that all the boats are fast. Our concern is to stay as far ahead as possible of number five [Abu Dhabi Team], as they are still leading the championship and we need as many points as possible.”

Team Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, are confident they can get ahead of XDubai during Sunday’s race.

2015 UIM   World Powerboat Championship CASCAIS GRAND PRIX PORTUGAL UAE - 12th to 14th June 2015 © Raffaello Bastiani / WPPA“The water was very rough today and we had a great, fun time. We were pushing very hard to finish first but XDubai pushed harder and they finished ahead of us, but it’s ok. We can do something in the race,” said Al Tayer.

“In the race anything can happen so it’s not finished yet. We will wait for the race”

Al Mansoori added: “The conditions today were awesome. This is real XCAT weather – it’s really a race. The drivers can come and prove themselves in these kind of conditions.

“The plan tomorrow is to have fun, drive and try to finish first, that’s it.”

XCAT action continues this afternoon with the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run – pitting two boats against each other in a drag race-style battle – scheduled for 3pm. Points from the Speed Cat Run count towards the overall Series total.

The Cascais GP takes place on Sunday, 14 June at 3pm. Viewers who aren’t in Portugal can follow all the action via live streaming by following the link on the home page.

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