UIM XCat Middle East Series preparations for the final heat are being concluded in Dubai International Marine Club.
by Sharon Allison
The race commences this Friday 25th March to decide the title of Middle East Champion. Seventeen powerboat teams will take to the water in Mina Seyahi to bring this season of four heats to a close.
The overall rankings were shaken up in Abu Dhabi last Monday when in heat 3 the Extreme Marine Team of Rashid Al Marri and Salim Fadel Al Hamli ended the winning streak of the Victory Teams Fazza driven by Arif Al Zafain and Nadir Bin Hendi. Another surprise came from Qatar Teams Mohamed Al Nasr and Hamad Al Mansouri who took second place after over taking the strong tea of Rashid Al Tayer and Majid Al Mansouri in Spirit of Abu Dhabi.
Fazza had to retire from the race with technical problems, which meant zero points for the previously top boat and forced them in to second overall position with 800 points and chasing Extreme Marine who now have 1000 points and will be difficult to beat to the title.
‘I watched Class 1 racing when I was younger and dreamt of racing myself. I always felt good when I was on the sea,’ said Extreme Marine’s Rashid Al Marri. ‘I started racing wooden powerboats and then I started to design and build powerboats. This is the fourth XCat boat I have built, I like the design and it feels good to race, this season has been very good for the Extreme Marine Team.’
‘We will put what happened in the last race behind us,’ said Arif Al Zafain. ‘ We will now focus totally on the next race and make sure the boat is in top condition to perform well.’
The competitors who come from all over the world with ten nations taking part have praised the Middle East Series for its professionalism and the quality of pilots taking part. ‘Up to 60% of the pilots are champions in their field and this is the only series where you can compete with such experience in one race,’ said Omar Danial, from Switzerland, who drives Manhotel with Gary Ballough form the USA. ‘The XCat class is one design and easy to understand, other races I’ve taken part in have many classes and run on a handicap system and I much prefer the simplicity of one design.’
Promoter, Sid Bensalah, Secretary General from the World Professional Powerboat Association is keen to advertise the merits of the class. ‘The XCat class was redesigned here in the UAE and has developed very well over the last three years,’ said Bensalah. It has attracted many of the top pilots from around the world and sparked a lot of interest. We hope to expand the venues next season to include some of the other Emirates and continue to promote the class globally.’
The race, which will start at 4pm, will be aired live on the Dubai Sports Channel and should last around 40 minutes. Dubai International Marine Club website
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11:48 AM Thu 24 Mar 2011 GMT
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