Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi capped off a flawless weekend of racing by taking the Dubai Grand Prix title as well as the overall Union Internationale Motonautique XCAT World Series for the second year in a row on Saturday.
Starting the race in pole position, the Fazza teammates made no mistakes with a perfect start to take the lead, which they held from beginning to end. The Victory-backed team needed to finish within the top three in order to take the championship, and by the time the 14 boats completed the first lap, there was little doubt the team would fail to do so.
“Toward the end we decided to save the engines, we wanted to make sure we finished the race and that we didn’t break anything and lose,” Bin Hendi said. “So we took it easy on the corners and then pushed it hard in between and kept an eye on the boat in second place to make sure it didn’t come close.
“We’re obviously very excited,” he continued. “This is the best thing that could happen. As we said we would do (Friday), we pushed at the start to get the lead and control the pace of the race.”
Finishing the final race of the season in second place was the Victory Team duo of Talib Al Sayed and Salem Al Adidi, who made the most of a shaky start from Skydive Dubai teammates to overtake them and shoot into second spot. The Skydive Dubai team of Sultan Al Dhaheri and Jay Price eventually finished in third place, confirming it was the start that proved to be the problem.
“That’s where we lost it,” said Price, who is from Louisiana. “We had too big a propeller and the way the start was designed, you make a slight left and then a right so the boat on the outside of us actually had a better line at the next turn and we had to cut back and go through the rooster of both boats.
“I would have liked a greater position in the race but it wasn’t our turn today and we’re really happy to move up a position in the world championship,” he continued. “That’s a fantastic situation. First time out racing XCATs and I’m already a silver medalist.”
Skydive Dubai moved into second place in the overall standings after the Mouawad team of Omar Danial and Gary Ballough, who is from Florida, finished sixth in Dubai.
On stage to hand out the trophies alongside local dignitaries was Argentinean football legend Diego Maradona, who spent the afternoon enjoying the XCAT action. The XCAT series takes a short break before starting the 2014 season at the end of January.