Chinese Grand Prix - Skydive Dubai claim second XCAT win

Boats in action Chinese Grand Prix.
Karien Jonckheere
At the Chinese Grand Prix this afternoon, wiping the windscreen with their feet was probably not quite what Sultan Al Dhaheri and Jay Price were expecting when they took to the water.

But, so tightly strapped into the boat, that was the only option available when soggy conditions caused the inside of the boat to fog up and cloud their vision. Whatever they did, it seemed to do the trick as the Skydive Dubai duo managed to stay out in front, powering their way to their second victory of the UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series at the Chinese Grand Prix. That’s after claiming victory in round four of the Series in Stresa, Italy in September.

Podium - 2015 UIM XCAT World Powerboat Series
Karien Jonckheere

Al Dhaheri and Price started in pole position and held onto their lead throughout the race in Meishan Bay. Current Series leaders, Fazza, managed to close the gap on the Skydive Dubai boat towards the final three laps of the race but were just unable to edge ahead.

'It always looks easy from the shore but it was quite a difficult race today. We lost control a few times but managed to maintain and stay on the water,' admitted Price afterwards.

'The course changed quite a bit today and we came across some lap traffic so we really had to change our line a bit, but it was a very exciting race.' Explaining the unique windscreen maneuver, he added: 'We’re strapped down so tight we can’t really reach anything and so we wiped the windshield with our feet – just a little area so we could actually see where the buoys were.'

2014 UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series Round 1 DUBAI Grand Prix - Skydive Dubai

Meanwhile, finishing a close second were the Fazza pair of Mohammed Al Marri and Arif Al Zaffain, who with this podium finish maintained their lead of the overall Series.

'The competition has become very close with lots of competitive boats so the race in Dubai will be very tough,' said Al Marri afterwards.

Third to cross the line were the Mouawad team of Gary Ballough and Omar Danial who are the closest challengers to Fazza’s Series lead, and still have a shot at taking the overall title if they manage first or second place in the last race in Dubai, and keep Fazza off the podium.

Start
Karien Jonckheere

'It was great today. We wanted to reach the podium so it’s mission accomplished,' said Danial, going on to comment on what it will take to take the Series title in Dubai next month. 'To win you have to finish. To finish first you obviously have to get your equipment in good order. You have to make sure it’s fresh and obviously make some modifications. You learn through each race, but I think our focus now is to make sure all our equipment is ready to go all out for the last race.'

As proceedings came to an end in China, Secretary General of the WPPA – organisers and promoters of the UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series, Sid Bensalah said: 'This is the first time we have held XCAT racing in China and we are thrilled with how the local authorities, organisers and the public have come on board and made this an exceptional event. We look forward to our return next year.'

Winners at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Karien Jonckheere

The next and final race of the Series will take place in Dubai, UAE from December 12-14.
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