Dubai Grand Prix - Three in a row for Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi
by Karien Jonckheere on 15 Dec 2013
A flawless weekend of racing was capped off by Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi after they claimed the Dubai Grand Prix title and sealed the overall UIM Skydive Dubai XCat World Series for the third time in a row at DIMC Mina Seyahi.
2013 UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series, Dubai Grand Prix - Arif and Nadir Raffaello Bastiani / WPPA http://raffaellophoto.com/
Starting the race at the top of the gate after victory in yesterday’s race for Emaar Pole Position, the Fazza duo made no mistakes with a perfect start to take the lead, which they held from beginning to end.
Fazza’s title hopes rested on this race and they had to finish within the top three in order to take the Championship. But by the time the 14 boats had completed the first lap, there seemed little doubt that they would do just that, with their nearest challengers in the Series – Mouawad and Skydive Dubai dropping back from the start.
It was around the seventh of 15 laps that Bin Hendi admitted he and Al Zaffain eased off the pace slightly to ensure no mechanical hitches would stand in their way of a memorable victory in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.
'Towards 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,' he 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 feeling very excited now. This is the best thing that could happen' he added. 'As we said we would do yesterday, we pushed at the start to get the lead and control the pace of the race.'
Meanwhile, finishing 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 teammates Skydive Dubai 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. '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,' he added.
'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. That’s a fantastic situation. First time out racing XCATs and I’m already a silver medallist,' said Price, referring to the second spot he and Al Dhaheri claimed in the overall Series standings.
Skydive Dubai moved up into second spot after the Mouawad team of Omar Danial and Gary Ballough struggled to sixth place in the Dubai GP. They still managed to finish the season in third overall, however.
On stage to hand out the trophies alongside local dignitaries was Argentinean football legend Diego Maradona who had spent the afternoon enjoying the XCAT action.
XCAT racing will now take a short break before the start of the 2014 season, which is scheduled for the end of XCat Racing website
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