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Maritimo 2019 HEADER

Maritimo - "The feeling of winning was unreal"

by Emanuele Ferraris di Celle and John Curnow 14 Dec 2019 13:59 PST
What Christmas present - Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton - freshly crowned UIM XCAT World Champions. © Raffaello Bastiani

Team Maritimo of Australia, with the Aussies Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton, on a Maritimo boat built in Australia, win the 2019 UIM XCAT World Championship. That should be enough of a line to describe the proud that they have felt down under, and in particular in Gold Coast, after today's race. But even more so here, where the Oz flag has been waved from the top spot of the podium by the two drivers. "The feeling of winning was unreal", is exactly what Barry-Cotter said immediately after securing the win, their first since 2012.

In a well balanced fight during the whole season, with four boats eligible for the world title until the very last race, it's not been easy for the Maritimo duo to be the best.

The pole of race 2 was for Abu Dhabi 4 of Shaun Torrente and Faleh al Mansoori, leaders of the overall ranking, so they seemed the favorite. Behind them, Maritimo, Abu Dhabi 5 and Dubai Police.

Maritimo had to get 4 points more than Abu Dhabi 4, but the start went smooth and they all kept positions. The latter also increase their advantage having clear water in front, while the former chase them crossing their wake from side to side in a desperate attempt to close the gap. But - out of thin air - the leaders miss a buoy and get a penalty long lap! Torrente and Al Mansoori immediately take it and find themselves behind. Where Dubai Police is trying to play a perfect strategy and overtake Abu Dhabi 5, in a desperate attempt to get in front and run away with the bone (the world title) while the other two (Maritimo and Abu Dhabi 4) fight for it.

But Barry Cotter and Willaton are in front, they are fully concentrated, and their boat is amazingly fast: they pile up seconds after seconds of advantage until they feel safe. At lap 13 they still have the second long lap to take, and Abu Dhabi 5 now in P2 has a chance. But no, Maritimo is too much ahead, and there's nothing to do. After the penalty Abu Dhabi 4 is fourth but very close to Dubai Police, so here's another fight, as Arif al Zaffein and Nadir bin Hendi are not fast as usual. The gap gets thinner and thinner, but.. the checkered flag waves and the season is over.

Maritimo turns the prevision around and wins the 2019 UIM XCAT World Championship, while Abu Dhabi 4 is only second and Dubai Police third by two points.

Behind the top four, once again is 222 Offshore with the Italian Giovanni Carpitella and the Australian Daren Nicholson, also fifth in the overall, then HPI Racing Team (Giuseppe and Rosario Schiano), Victory Team (Salem al Adidi and Eisa al Ali), Kuwait (Abdullatef al Omani and Moustafa al Dashti), De Mitri (Roberto Lo Piano and Maurizio Carando), Videx (Alfredo Amato and Saul Bubacco), Consulbrokers (Andrea Comello and Joakim Kumlin).

DNF for New Star Racing, Mikhail Kitashev and Dmitry Vandishev, who almost made a miracle after the flipover in race 1: a huge effort by the team and a fair help from their opponents took them in the water, but unfortunately for less than a lap.

A due mention also to Swecat Racing (Erik Stark and Sebastian Groth), stopped in the dry pits afer the big crash last November in Shanghai, and to Team Australia (Pål Virik Nilsen and Jan Trigve Braaten), with the confidence of seeing them back on track after Pål's recovery.

The Dubai Grand Prix, held at Sunset Beach with view over the iconic Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab, has turned out perfectly. The joint work of UIM, World Powerboating Federation and Championship Promoters, and Dubai International Marine Club as local organizer, put up a successful weekend with loads of spectators, sponsors, activities, and media attention. All crowned by the presence on the stage, for the prize giving ceremony, of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai International Marine Club, the Dubai Sports Council,and the UAE Sports Federation.

The teams and drivers raced a thrilling championship, the promoters and organizers made a huge effort to take the Championship to an ever higher level, and all the staff worked hard for smooth operations. The basis for a great 2020 XCAT season are all there.

Please go here for full results.

After some rest, Barry-Cotter was able to further elaborate on that 'feeling', adding "Maritimo are the UIM XCAT World Champions, and the XCAT Pole Position World Champions. As such, we are the first team in XCAT History to win both titles, and the first non UAE team to win the World Championship."

"Maritimo are also the first Non Victory Team Hull/Boat to win the World Championship, which is a great way to culminate a year of highs and lows. This brand new boat designed and built by Maritimo on the Gold Coast first raced in Italy in Round One, where it secured pole position and second place in Race One in its first outing We subsequently developed the boat all year, improving its handling and speed."

"We took two wins in Shanghai last month to set up the championship showdown with Dubai Police#3, and Abu Dhabi#4, both of whom are government funded teams. Conditions were tough here in Dubai, but they suited our boat's design."

"We took Pole Position and secured the Pole Position Championship on Friday. Race One here in Dubai was incredibly challenging, we had a technical issue for the opening laps and had dropped back to fifth position. The technical issue cleared and we fought back to secure second place in an incredible race with many overtakes, to set us up for the championship decider with one race to go. Who ever won the race out of top three championship boats would be crowned champion!"

"We got a great start in Race Two, and were fighting in second position from the opening lap. We felt we had the pace, and were applying constant pressure to Abu Dhabi #4 in front. That pressure became too much for #4 and they hooked the boat in a turn missing a turn mark, thus releasing us into clean water, with no boats in front. We continued to pull away from the field and our boat got faster and faster."

"It didn’t all go our way, as we lost all comms in the boat and from boat to shore, so the race strategy was all done from hand signals in the cockpit and from shore. We are incredibly proud and excited to bring the championship back to Australia for the first time, and share this with our 300 staff at Maritimo in Coomera", said Barry Cotter in closing.

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