x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Fazza continue flawless run through UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series

Six pairing charges from back in the pack to secure podium finish

Nadir bin Hendi and Arif Al Zaffain of Fazza celebrate their victory in the Fujairah Grand Prix on Friday. Simon Palfrader / WPPA
Nadir bin Hendi and Arif Al Zaffain of Fazza celebrate their victory in the Fujairah Grand Prix on Friday. Simon Palfrader / WPPA

FUJAIRAH // Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir bin Hendi extended their lead at the top of the UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series standings with a second consecutive win in Fujairah on Friday.

The Fazza duo led from start to finish in a race in a drama-filled race, with three boats failing to make it to the end.

Team Westerlund, who started the race in fourth position, flipped their boat on a turn in the 10th lap but the crew emerged unscathed. Mouawad and Team GB had earlier succumbed to mechanical trouble and returned to the pits.

But it was once again a faultless performance from Fazza, who had booked their spot on pole in the morning and maintained their lead throughout.

Meanwhile, a great start from the Italian duo of Tomaso Polli and Matteo Nicolini in Six saw them powering from fifth into second spot – a position they held until the finish – while the #MyDubai pair of Salem Al Adidi and Taleb Al Sayed claimed third place.

“I said before today already that the race would be a big fight between six or seven boats, which is was,” Al Zaffain said. “But I just tried with my best friend, Nadir, from the start to take position No 1, so I am very happy.”

Asked if he was aware of the drama unfolding behind him, Al Zaffain said: “Yes, our radio man always tells us what is happening, so I enjoyed what I saw behind us. I’m really happy with what I saw from all the teams – they have really improved from the previous races.”

Speaking about the start that propelled them to second place, Polli said: “We started in fifth position, which I didn’t mind because I prefer to be on one end of the pack. It was a rough start, which meant that if you take a few risks and the boat does well on the rough, you arrive on the first corner with a bit of an advantage, which is what happened. We defended the second position pretty much the whole race.”

When Team Westerlund capsized on the 10th lap, the race had to be restarted with just two laps to go.

“The restart is always a bit tricky,” Polli said. “There could be another accident, there are many boats all close together.” He said he knew #MyDubai and Skydive Dubai were going to “be very aggressive on the restart and they were”.

“We had one on the one side and one on the other. But we just stayed centre, closed our eyes and managed to squeeze through.”

XCAT action now moves to Daytona, Florida, for the third round of the series, from April 11 to 13, with Fazza on a maximum 800 points from Skydive Dubai (469) and #MyDubai (450).