DUBAI // Arif al Zafeen and Nadir bin Hendi may have wrapped up the Class 1 World Powerboat Championship in Abu Dhabi less than a fortnight ago but today's final race in the 2010 UIM X-Cat World Series Powerboat Championship will see the Fazza crew start as outsiders for the title.
The Dubai-born Class 1 world champions kept alive their hopes of a world title double by claiming maximum points in the second race in the three-round X Cat World Series in Abu Dhabi last month but trail in fourth place as the season comes to a head at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) this afternoon.
Rashid al Marri and Salem al Hamli lead the series in Extreme Marine thanks to a first and a second place finish in the two races held so far. With their nearest challengers more than 230 points adrift, the Extreme Marine crew will be hoping for a trouble-free run in the 11-lap 47.88-nautical-mile race and a high enough finish to ensure them the title no matter how well the chasing pack do.
"Although we managed to get ahead of Extreme Marine in the last race, we know we need results to go in our favour elsewhere if we are to win the X Cat World Series," bin Hendi said.
"Rashid and Salem have already wrapped up the regional title and have the boat to go on and win the World Series too - but we can't think too much about them. It's up to us to try to win the race and see where we stand at the end of the day."
Al Zafeen and bin Hendi lie 300 points behind the championship leaders with just 400 points available for a race win.
Yesterday's practice and pole position runs saw the Qatar Team duo of Mohammed al Nasr and Hamad Jassim Mohammed take the honours ahead of al Marri and al Hamli with al Zafeen and bin Hendi third quickest, narrowly ahead of teammates Talib al Sayed and Abdullah al Mehairbi in Fazza 33.
Despite the Qataris holding pole, all eyes will be on Extreme Marine and Fazza 3 following their hard-fought head-to-head in the capital last month.