XDubai claim pole position in thriller

XDubai claim pole position in thriller

Taking up the all-important final spot in the top gate will be T-Bone Station (Giovanni Carpitella and Marco Pennesi).



Published: Sun 14 Jun 2015, 11:59 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:13 PM

The XDubai team qualifed with a fastest lap time of 2:33.70 with only seconds left in the session. — Supplied photo

Cascais — The XDubai team of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir bin Hendi waited until the dying seconds of this morning’s pole position session to book top spot in Sunday’s Cascais GP.

In a fiercely contested battle, the defending series champions overtook current series leaders Abu Dhabi Team, with a fastest lap time of 2:33.70 with only seconds left in the session.

Their decision to go for one final lap paid off with Al Zaffain and Bin Hendi making the most of the wind having died down slightly.

The Abu Dhabi Team (Rashed Al Tayer and Faleh Al Mansoori) will start Sunday’s race in second spot, having recorded a time of 2:35.46, and the French team Yachts (Francois Pinelli and Saul Bubacco) will start in third after a lap of 2:36.89.

Taking up the all-important final spot in the top gate will be T-Bone Station (Giovanni Carpitella and Marco Pennesi).

“The conditions changed a lot. It was getting better but at times the wind increased again so it was tough,” admitted an elated Al Zaffain afterwards.

“But I felt that the very last minutes would be the best so we went to play our last chance and that’s when we got the last two seconds off our time that we needed and we got first place.

“It’s a very good race track. It’s more like a Formula 1 track.”

Speaking about Sunday’s race, which kicks off at 3pm local time, Al Zaffain added: “I think tomorrow there will be a lot of competition, especially for the drivers and not so much for the throttlemen.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Al Tayer and Al Mansoori qualified in second position. “It was important to be in the top group but the conditions were not easy and we did not want to take any risks,” said Al Tayer. “We wanted to keep the boat in good condition to ensure that we are in a good shape for the race on Sunday.”

Thirteen XCAT boats lined up for the first visit to Cascais and Videx, crewed by Joakhim Kumlin and Alfredo Amato, set the pace in Friday’s first official practice session that preceded the all-important pole position on Saturday morning on the 3.49Nm course. Team Abu Dhabi ran for 11 laps and recorded the fourth quickest time. Dubai and T-Bone Station were second and third.  Raheeb was the only boat not to take to the course.

A top finish in the Emaar Pole Position stint was crucial and Hoorsenbuhs laid down the gauntlet with a lap of 2min 47.70sec. That was soon eclipsed by the 2min 47.23sec tour set by X Dubai. T-Bone Station slotted into an early third place with a lap of 2min 47.32sec. Al Tayer’s and Al Mansoori’s first run ended with a time of 2min 50.10sec and that moved them into sixth. Hoorsenbuhs snatched provisional pole soon afterwards with a lap of 2min 46.21sec before the red flag was raised while a turn buoy was replaced.

In calmer conditions, X Dubai set a stunning time of 2min 40.31sec to snatch the fastest time and Marine Investimenti Sud moved up to sixth as the front-runners swapped and changed in the improving water conditions. Team Abu Dhabi slotted into second behind XDubai and then stormed into provisional pole with a time of 2min 39.89 sec. Swecat Racing survived a high-speed scare, as the session entered its final stages and the rain began to fall again in deteriorating conditions. But the weather improved in the closing stages. Hoorsenbuhs climbed into fourth with a lap of 2min 41.03sec and X Dubai snatched provisional pole position from Team Abu Dhabi with a lap of 2min 38.75sec.

 


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