Thanks to three races on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday in Fujairah, UAE—as well as Friday’s separate Speed Cat Run for the Fujairah Trophy, a knockout series of head-to-head sprints—the Union Internationale Motonautique XCAT World Championship returned in a remarkable way this week. For the first time since 2019, the twin-outboard-powered-catamaran class featuring teams from the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Russia, Monaco, Kuwait, Italy, Australia and more gathered for a crowd-pleasing showcase of high-level boat racing at the Fujairah International Marine Club.
After three races in Fujairah, the Dubai Police team (right) is on top of the 2021 XCAT World Championship points standings heading into next week’s season finale in Dubai. Photos courtesy XCAT World Championship
And, after four days of intense competition, which saw three different teams win the three Grand Prix events, the Dubai Police teammates of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi hold a sizable, but not unsurmountable, points lead heading into the second and final round of this year’s shortened UIM XCAT World Championship after winning today’s final Fujairah Grand Prix race. Next week’s Dubai Grand Prix features back-to-back races on Friday and Saturday (Dec. 10-11).
Saturday’s result makes Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi favorites to capture the XCAT world crown on home waters, although their closest rivals—Abu Dhabi 5 teammates Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori, who finished third on the day and sit 13 points behind Dubai Police with 78 points—are sure to battle all the way to the finish.
“It’s not over yet,” Al Tayer said in a press release from the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club. “We have a lot of ground to make up and Arif and Nadir are working well together so they will be very difficult to catch. We wanted to take pole position today to give us our best chance in the race, and that’s what we’ll be aiming for again in Dubai. We’ll give it everything we’ve got.”
Drivers from all across the world, including American Shaun Torrente (bottom left), were excited to return to the XCAT course.
Dubai Police, which finished third in Wednesday’s race, second in Thursday’s race and won Friday’s Fujairah Trophy Speed Cat Run, powered its way to an 11-second victory on Saturday ahead of Tomaso Polli and Matteo Nicolini in Six. Currently in third place overall with 74 points, Polli and Nicolini claimed pole position ahead of Dubai Police, but Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi came through for the victory as Abu Dhabi 5 climbed into a podium place after qualifying in fifth position.
The Abu Dhabi 4 team of Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori, which had engine problems in the first race on Wednesday and had to exit early but won the second race on Thursday ahead of Dubai Police and Six, began Saturday well by setting the fastest time in official practice.
The Six and 222 Offshore racing teams fared well in the three XCAT races in Fujairah.
The 2018 world champions ended up settling for third place in qualifying before finishing fourth in the race—leaving them also fourth in the overall standings with 57 points but determined to round off the short XCAT season with a strong finish in Dubai. Sitting in fifth with 52 points is the Victory Team duo of Erik Stark and Mohamed Alyammahi.
In the first race of the week on Wednesday, the 222 Offshore team of Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson showcased its skills in a hard-fought battle with Abu Dhabi 5 and Dubai Police, which finished second and third respectively.
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