There will be a familiar look to the start of Saturday’s Dubai GP with the overall UIM XCAT World Powerboating Series leaders, XDubai, back in top spot.
That’s after the pair of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir bin Hendi powered to the fastest time in the race for Pole Position on Friday.
The UAE locals got the better of the early conditions as they were first in the water and their first of just two laps proved to be the fastest of the day: 2:33.93.
Their teammates, Dubai, were second quickest, over two seconds back, with Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali securing a time of 2:36.34.
The team currently placed second in the overall standings, Team Abu Dhabi (Rashed Al Tayer and Faleh Al Mansoori), will start Saturday’s race in third after a fastest lap of 2:36.51. And completing the all-important top gate for the race will be the Italian T-Bone Station (Giovanni Carpitella and Luca Fendi) and France’s Yachts (Francois Pinelli and Saul Bubacco).
Saturday’s Dubai GP will take place at 2pm and entry is free of charge to the general public with plenty of exciting activities on offer both on and off the water.
Speaking about Friday morning’s racing, Bin Hendi explained: “We knew the sea conditions were going to change so that was our plan to get it done early. We said we were going to go out and do one lap and make the best of it and we managed to get the best time.
“We are very happy. The sea conditions were on our side. The set-up and everything was good and that showed – going out first, getting pole and we’re looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
Discussing the expected conditions for Saturday’s race, Bin Hendi added: “As you could see with pole position, the conditions were changing every five minutes. The waves are coming in from the deep sea. It’s coming in now and I think it’s going to get rougher tomorrow.”
Victory Team manager Ragesh Elayadeth, who looks after both Dubai boats, said: “I’m very happy for XDubai and I’m equally happy for the Dubai boat. They are learning day by day and they did a good job. I can’t ask for anything more.
“Looking at the weather forecast it seems it’s going to be a little rough but they are racers – they have to race in any situation and any conditions and they will do that.”
Speaking about the likely threat from neighbours Team Abu Dhabi, Elayadeth added:
“These boats are good boats, teams and drivers so yes, we have to do our homework and go for the race and get the result – that’s it.
“We just have to concentrate on our job. We can’t worry about what others do.”
Meanwhile, later in the afternoon there was more glory for the XDubai team as they took top honours in the Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run. That’s after defeating T-Bone Station in the final head-to-head showdown of the day.
Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi had reached the final by defeating Swecat (Mikael Bengtsson and Erik Stark) in the opening round before getting the better of Six (Tomaso Polli and Matteo Nicolini) in the second. They then went on to beat Team Abu Dhabi in the semifinal.