Former F1 powerboating world champion Jay Price will make the change to an XCAT for the third heat of the 2013 UIM XCAT World Series in Dubai this weekend. The American will be joining forces with former rival in Formula 2, Sultan Al Daheri, in one of two boats that have been sponsored by Gabon – hosts of one of the upcoming international races, later in the season.
'I’ve managed to have two days of testing now and am feeling very comfortable in the boat so it’s pretty exciting. We’re looking forward to getting out there and racing,' said Price, who first expressed an interest in XCAT racing when involved with the Victory Team in Formula 1 last year.
'I would say the biggest challenge in XCAT is communication. Two people have to become one. In Formula 1 I am used to doing everything myself so you really have to get used to working together,' he added.
'People coming out to watch who haven’t seen XCAT racing before certainly have something to look forward to – the sound of the engines, the size of the boats – it really is addictive.'
The Gabon boats are a new addition to the series this weekend, which will see 13 boats taking each other on at the Dubai International Marine Club from March 21-23.
'It promises to be a great weekend of racing and we are looking forward to having 13 boats out on the water. It’s wonderful that Gabon have come on board in such a big way with the sponsorship of two boats in the series and we are excited to be taking the action to their wonderful venue during the summer,' said Sid Bensalah, Secretary General of the World Professional Powerboating Association (WPPA) and UIM XCAT World Series Chief Officer.
Price and Al Daheri will be up against current series leaders, Fazza’s Mohammed Al Merri (UAE) and Arif Al Zaffain (UAE) who have been in sensational form this year – winning the first two events of the season. Close behind them is the Mouawad pair of Omar Danial (SUI) and Gary Ballough (USA) who have also reached the podium on two occasions – twice finishing second.
All the action starts with Official Practice on Thursday afternoon, followed by the thrilling Speed Cat Run on Friday which will see two boats pitted against each other in the ultimate head-to-head test of speed from 3.30-4.30pm. The main race of the weekend will then take place on Saturday at 3.30pm. Entry to the event is free of charge.
A new prize money structure has been put in place from this weekend, with all participants guaranteed a share of the spoils. US$150,000 will be up for grabs, to be distributed among the 14 teams, with the grand prix winners taking home $11,000.
Also part of proceedings is a safety workshop which has brought together experts from across the world to discuss and develop the safety aspect of the sport even further.