Al Tayer, Al Mansoori happy with Grand Prix start as team-mates look to bounce back from engine setback
Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
Team Abu Dhabi now know the size of the task they face to secure another UIM XCAT World Championship title after Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson took 222 Offshore to an opening victory at the Fujairah Grand Prix.
Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 5 finished runners up to the Italian/Australian duo who had a 19 secs winning margin in the first of three Grand Prix races taking place at Fujairah International Marine Club in the space of four days.
Team-mates and 2018 world champions Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 4 were halted by engine problems after five of 16 1aps while holding third place, which was ultimately secured by the Dubai Police pairing of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi.
The Victory Team’s Erik Stark and Mohamed Alyammahi claimed fourth position as Carpitella and Nicholson grabbed the early advantage in the XCAT title race, which concludes with back-to-back races at the Dubai Grand Prix on 10-11 December.
“We’re happy with second position because we need to save the boat, with two more races to come here and another two in Dubai,” said Al Tayer. “We had no problems today. Everything was very smooth.”
“We’re basically running at the same speed as 222, and now we’ll be looking for a good performance in pole position (qualifier) tomorrow.”
Torrente has barely had a chance to catch his breath after helping Team Abu Dhabi land a fourth successive F1H2O team crown on Sunday in Portugal, narrowly missing out on a hat-trick of individual driver titles in the process.
“We had a decent start today and everything felt good, but then the left motor suddenly went dead,” said Torrente. “At the moment we’re a bit frustrated because we haven’t found out yet what went wrong.
“But by tomorrow we’ll be fine, and we’ll change our approach because we need to start pushing to win races. The last few days have been exhausting. I arrived here at 5am in the morning yesterday and went straight into qualifying. But there’s no other place I’d like to be.”
The impressive XCATS are back in the water at 9.30 Am tomorrow (Thursday) for official practice followed by the battle for pole position starting at 11am and Race 2 getting under way at 2.30 Pm.
Fujairah Grand Prix Race 1 leading positions and UIM XCAT World championship standings
|1. 222 Offshore (IT/AU) Giovanni Carpitella/Darren Nicholson||47.27.57||35 Pts|
|2. Abu Dhabi 5 (UAE) Rashed Al Tayer/Majed Al Mansoori||47.46.80||30 Pts|
|3. Dubai Police (UAE) Arif Al Zaffain/Nadir Bin Hendi||48.08.94||25 Pts|
|4. Victory Team (UAE) Erik Stark/Mohamed Alyammahi||48.14.72||22 Pts|
|5. Six (MC) Tomaso Polli/Matteo Nicolini||48.30.95||18 Pts|
|6. Pasta Amato (IT) Alfredo Amato/Saul Bubacco||49.00.82||15 Pts|
|7. New Star (RU) Mikhail Kitashev/Dmitry Vandyshev||49.26.19||12 Pts|
|8. HPI Racing Team (IT) Rosario Schiano Di Cola/G.S. Di Cola||50.52.01||10 Pts|