In the Chinese Grand Prix, Tomaso Polli will be feeling the pressure when he returns to action on Sunday. He may have topped the podium at the previous race of the UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series in front of an adoring home crowd in Arona, Italy, but China is likely to provide a completely different challenge.
Polli’s teammate in boat Six, Matteo Nicolini was unavailable for this event in Ningbo, China as he is currently competing in the USA. As a result, Polli will be teaming up with Nicolini’s brother, Luca. The duo are no strangers to each other in the boat.
'I have raced with Luca before in Class 1 and he’s a great guy so it’s just a matter of getting used to the boat again and another pilot. But there’s nothing that we cannot do,' said a confident Polli after the team’s first practice on Friday.
'Obviously you always do feel pressure, having won the last race. But we’re very confident as always – as we were in Arona. We go out to win; that’s our only goal. And we’ll do our best to stay in front of everyone,' he added.
Explaining what it’s likely to take to win Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, Polli said: 'It’s going to take a lot of concentration – like it took in the last race, nerves – like in the last race and we have to have the right set-up. Unfortunately this morning in testing we damaged our ideal set of propellers – the ones we’ll run for the race. We don’t have another set so we will have to try to repair them. But it’s not serious, I’m sure we’ll be able to fix it.'
The Italian driver added that while a crowd of 40,000 had witnessed the team’s victory in Arona, he has never before seen a 25,000-seater grand stand quite like the one that’s been constructed for the enthusiastic Ningbo public.
'I’ve never seen so many chairs in my entire life. That’s a very good thing about this race so we’re looking forward to it,' he said.
Meanwhile, racing kicked off in Meishan Bay, Ningbo on Friday with the newly introduced match race, pitting two boats at a time against each other over a short and long lap. It was the Fazza duo of Arif Al Zaffain and Mohammed Al Marri that successfully negotiated their way through the knockout competition to emerge as eventual winners, defeating the Qatar Team (Mohammed Al Nasr and Abdulrahman Al Nasser) in the final, with Victory Team (Salem Al Adidi and Talib Al Sayed) third.
Action continues on Saturday with Official Practice scheduled for 10.30am local time, the race for Emaar Pole Position at 1:00pm and the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run at 3.30pm.