Their boat is sponsored by Dubai Police, but it’s a comeback from two champions in XCAT: Arif al Zaffein and Nadir bin Hendi have clinched the first spot on the grid in the Fujairah Grand Prix.
It may seem weird to read “Dubai Police is in pole position”. But the Dubai-based team of Arif al Zaffein and Nadir bin Hendi this year is endorsed by the local militia, hence the name of the boat and the white-and-green livery it carries. So the first race of the 2018 UIM XCAT World Championship will see the Dubai Police catamaran starting in first place, in the waters of Fujairah, UAE. Right behind, it’s the 2017 runner-up Team Australia, with Pål Virik Nilsen and Jan Trygve Braaten in the cockpit. Third best is the other team from down under, Maritimo of Tom Barry-Cotter and Ross Willaton.
The new format for the qualifying consists of one single session, 30 minutes long, with no propeller change allowed: so, provided the best setup has been found in the practice sessions, it’s just a matter of taking as many fast laps as possible and find the best performance in the water. Today in Fujariah the wind was weak and the race course almost flat, so everybody went for a high-speed setup. In the end, the well-proven duo of Dubai Police closed the session with 2:22.603, over one and a half seconds faster than Team Australia. Just 3 laps for Maritimo allowed them to take third spot with 2:24.945, followed by 222 Offshore (Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson) with 2:25.215.