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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 April 2019

Title glory for UAE's Rashid Al Mulla in aquabikes competition in Sharjah - in pictures

Two victories on Wednesday clinch the title for the Emirati

Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Mulla claimed his maiden UIM-ABP Freestyle World Championship title at Khalid Lagoon in Sharjah on Wednesday.

The Emirati has dominated the Freestyle category this season and victory in both Moto 1 and Moto 2 on Wednesday gave him an unassailable lead in the points’ standings.

The 31-year-old Emirati continued where he left off in the qualifying heat to dominate Moto 1 with a potent array of acrobatics that impressed the judges in terms of variety, quantity, entertainment and style.

An array of barrel-rolls, back-flips, reverse 360s, fountains and combinations and quick and smooth transfers gave him 90 points. The success enabled Al Mulla to continue his 100 per cent winning streak so far this season. Portugal’s Paulo Nunes claimed second and the UAE’s Ali Abdeljalil was third.

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There was no respite in Moto 2 and the Team Abu Dhabi driver confirmed a sixth successive win to seal the title. Nunes and Alexander Kuramshin were second and third in Moto 2 after world No 1 Roberto Mariani suffered ongoing issues with his equipment and failed to start. Abdeljalil aborted his second Moto after engine problems.

Al Mulla said: “I have been working on this programme for seven years now and I have continued to develop and improve my display. To win the world championship is a special feeling. I am so happy for my team. Now I can enjoy the final Moto on Friday as the world champion.”

Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer lined up in fourth on the front row for Runabout GP1’s 25 minutes and an extra lap of Moto 1, but the Emirati made a disappointing start and was down in eighth position at the end of the opening circuit.

Series leader Jeremy Perez led from Lars Akerblom but Kuwait’s defending champion Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq was penalised for hitting a buoy and dropped to fifth before improving to fourth, his struggle exacerbated by a niggling shoulder injury.

Al Tayer retired with a throttle sensor issue after two laps, as Perez went on to claim the win from a late charging Al Abdulrazzaq, Akerblom and James Bushell and extended his series lead to six points. Mattia Fracasso lost out on third place on the last lap and was towed back to the pits with a battery issue.

Al Tayer said: “After the pole position I had some problems with my boat. Before Moto 1 we finished the engine. We did not have time for any tuning. We went to the race, but I missed speed because of a throttle sensor problem. I had to retire from Moto 1. Our mechanic did his best to fix the boat for Moto 2.”

Updated: December 12, 2018 06:26 PM

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