Team Abu Dhabi's XCAT World Champions ready for all out title fight in Dubai
Torrente, Al Mansoori aim for back-to-back race wins to retain world crown
Team Abu Dhabi's Shaun Torrente and Faleh Al Mansoori ae ready for all conditions that the Dubai Grand Prix can create this weekend as they look to retain their title at the climax of the 2019 UIM XCAT World Championship.
The defending champions took to the water for official practice today with their sole intention to aim for back-to-back race wins in the final round of the series, regardless of any off-race developments.
On the eve of the first of two races in Dubai in the space of 24 hours, Team Abu Dhabi lost their appeal against the two 30-second time penalties imposed on Torrente and Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 4 after last month's Shanghai Grand Prix.
The penalties dropped them from the championship lead to third place, seven points behind the Dubai Police crew of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi, but their focus today was on the possibility of dramatically changing sea conditions in Dubai.
"It was very rough out there, very windy with some big waves, but both our boats are stable," said Al Mansouri, after he and Torrente set the third fastest lap in the first official practice session, which saw only seven of the 12 boats recording times.
"We have a good set-up and we pushed today and found that everything was good for us, so we are ready. Everything depends on the weather tomorrow. We're hearing from the weather guys that the sea will be flat, and if that's the case we'll change the set-up for sure because today we were set-up for rough water. We'll decide tomorrow about half an hour before the pole position race."
Torrente said: "Our goal is still the same, to win the race. That's what we knew we needed to do. For us the plan is still the same. Obviously we have more points to make up now than we thought, but that's ok."
Andrea Comello and Joakim Kumun in Consulbrokers set the early pace in official practice, with Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 5 recording the fifth quickest lap.
Both Team Abu Dhabi boats avoided today's second official practice session which was won by Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali on the Victory Team's return to XCAT Race.
|Official practice 1 results
1. Consulbrokers Andrea Comello (ES) Joakim Kumun 3:13.871
2. Victory Team (UAE) Salem Al Adidi / Eisa Al Ali 3:23.924
3. Abu Dhabi 4 (UAE) Shaun Torrente / Faleh Al Mansoori 3.24.497
4. HPI Racing Team (IT) Rosario Schiano Di Cola / Guiseppe Schiano Di Cola 3.28.336
5. Abu Dhabi 5 (UAE) Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori 3:38.616
6. New Star Racing (RU) Mikhail Kitashev / Dimitry Vandyshev 3:51.462
7. Videx (IT) Alfredo Amato / Saul Bubacco 3:59.138
XCAT World Championship positions
1. Dubai Police 143
2. Maritimo 137
3. Abu Dhabi 4 136
4. Abu Dhabi 5 113
5. 222 Offshore 71
6. HPI Racing Team 60
7. The Blue Roo 48
8. New Star Racing 47
9. Swecat Racing 44
7. Kuwait 42
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