Dubai: Former five-time world champions Arif Al Zafein and Nader Bin Hindi led their Dubai Police boat to the top of the overall standings at the end of the first two rounds of the 2018 UIM XCAT World Championships held in Fujairah over the weekend.
Al Zafein and Bin Hindi, who clinched the world crown on all five occasions racing with champions Victory Team, have this year entered the competition with a new boat backed by Dubai Police.
After taking the opening round of the championship off the waters of Fujairah International Marine Club (FIMC) on Thursday, Al Zafein and Bin Hindi remained in total control in Friday’s second round in their ‘Dubai Police 3’ boat to go to the top of the overall standings for this season with a maximum of 70 points after two rounds.
The pairing of Pal Virik Nilsen and Jan Trygve Braaten in Team Australia took an impressive second place, after being forced out of Thursday’s opening round, while Mikhail Kitashev and Dmitry Vandyshev took third in their boat ‘New Star’ to complete the podium.
Abu Dhabi 5, with Rashid Al Tayer and Majid Al Mansouri came in fourth in a field of 12 boats entered. However, the field wilted by one boat when Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton didn’t start the race after their Maritimo boat suffered a crash during Thursday’s opening round.
Keeping away from the UIM XCAT World Championships for the first time-ever is the Victory Team following a new strategy of concentrating on the Class One and Formula One categories this season.
In Friday’s action, Dubai Police stayed in charge from the start as New Star and Team Abu Dhabi 5 pushed for an overtake. But on Lap 11, Swecat Racing retired and 222 Offshore began to slow down putting New Star in second followed by Team Australia.
But with the approach of the final lap in the 17-lap competition, New Star managed to find a way past Team Abu Dhabi 5 to snatch third spot. The Norwegian duo then overtook New Star on the very last lap to finish second behind Dubai Police 3.
The 2018 UIM XCAT World Championships is most likely set to resume later in the summer after organisers firm up the calendar for the season.