Arif al Zaffein and Nadir bin Hendi dominate also race 2 of the Fujairah GP. Behind them, an incredible comeback from Team Australia takes them to second, while Newstar clinch their first podium ever in XCAT.
They seemed unstoppable yesterday, and they’ve been unstoppable today. The perfect feeling in the cockpit between Nadir bin Hendi and Arif al Zaffein, and their indisputable skills in tuning the boat, have allowed them to take home another gold on ‘Dubai Police’. Race two of the Fujairah GP, first round of the UIM CAT World Championship, starts smoothly: the tension of yesterday seems to be at least tamed by all the drivers. Dubai Police takes the lead, and having clear water in front they can control the race and use the long lap strategy they decided in advance with the team manager. After the 17 laps of the race, their advantage on the second is 44 seconds no less. But everything behind can be deemed a surprise.
Beginning with the second on the finish line: Team Australia. A second place for them is nothing unexpected, considering their value and the poles and wind they scored in 2017. Today though it has a completely different taste. Yesterday they had a big crash with Maritimo, they were knocked out of the race, and all they could put in the basket was a DNF and a damaged boat. After a full night spent mending the boat, they were able to enter today’s race…from the last spot. Come the start and they already pass Videx, Fujairah, HPI Racing and Kuwait, to finish the first lap in 7th place.
Then it’s time for the long laps (lap 3 and 5): after that it’s just a matter of pushing until they reach the fourth spot with 2 laps to go. A beautiful overtake on Abu Dhabi 4 takes them third behind Newstar, but the Russians have to take their second long lap yet and the gap is not enough. So a brilliant second place for Pål Virik Nilsen and Jan Trygve Braaten who can’t hide their satisfaction after yesterday’s disappointment and search for motivation.
Mikhail Kitashev and Dmitry Vandishev of Newstar Racing are the other crew who can’t hide their happiness: in their second full season in XCAT they conquer the first podium with a flawless race and a brilliant strategy. A well deserved third place for a team that has struggled much still aware of having the potential to be in front.
And the final ranking smiles also to Kuwat (Abdullateef al Omani and Moustafa al Dashti) with a very good fifth spot, and to HPI Racing (Francois Pinelli and Rosario Schiano), who close in P6 at their second race together. For Rosario Schiano, the youngest driver of the lot, is already a very encouraging result, as he humbly admits he still has a lot to learn. He even states that they could have finished fifth were not for a small mistake he did: the right approach for a promising driver.
Among the disappointments, sure the ‘gold medal’ goes to 222 Offshore, second on the grid and for most of the race until an electronic issue to one engine takes them back to P8. Then to Videx, betrayed by an alternator on the last lap. DNF also for Abu Dhabi 4 and Swecat, for a race that – like customary in Fujairah – has provided a lot of surprises and excitement.
Read all about Race 1 also called “the bummer from down under”…