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Team Australia’s Brett Luhrmann and Pål-Virik Nilsen delivered a second successive winning performance in Blue Roo to storm into contention for the XCAT title with a lead of three points at the season’s halfway point.
Multi World XCat champions team up again as Nadir Bin Hendi joins Arif Saif Al Zafeen and clinched 3rd place in the 4th of of 6 races in China.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori lost the lead in the UIM XCAT World Championship after finishing in fifth place in the second race of the Weihai Grand Prix on China’s Yellow Sea on Sunday. The team lost ground from the start and were playing catch up throughout the race.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Emirati rivals in Victory 3 and Al Wasl rounded off the podium places, with Salem Al-Adidi and Eisa Al-Ali pipping former Victory Team drivers Arif Saif Al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi to the runner-up spot when the latter took a long lap late on and lost out on second position.
“It wasn’t the result we wanted to be honest,” said Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Tayer. “I guess it was important to put as many points on the board as we could in a difficult race and make sure that there was no damage on the boat before next weekend. It’s still very close at the top of the points tables and its going to be exciting.”
The Italian-Australian pairing of Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson finished a strong fourth in Weihai-China 10, and the Swedish duo of Mikael Bengtsson and Erik Stark shadowed Team Abu Dhabi across the line in sixth place.
Victory Team had been moved up from seventh to sixth at the expense of Caccia Engineering in the final results for race one when it came to light that the Italians had only run one long lap. The additional three points moved the Dubai team a single point behind Team Abu Dhabi and ahead of the Blue Roo in a tight points’ table.
The Australian outfit claimed pole position for the second race, courtesy of their win the previous day, and they lined up ahead of Weihai-China and Team Abu Dhabi for the race that was scheduled for a start lap, two long laps and 14 tours of the offshore course in better visibility than the previous day.
Teams played out a different strategy for the second race and many left their second long laps until later in the race. The Blue Roo gained the early advantage from Victory, Al Wasl, Weihai-China, Swecat Racing and Team Abu Dhabi through the opening few laps and the Australian team moved into a 24-second advantage as the race progressed. Team Abu Dhabi and Swecat opted for their second long laps at the same time, as the leading trio held station, but Al Wasl still had a second long lap to run and would fall further behind Victory 3 who took a second long lap on the 11th tour. Fujairah Racing was one team to take their long laps early and they were rewarded with fifth position heading into the closing laps before dropping behind. Lady Spain’s Roberto Lo Piano and Andrea Comello were running at the rear of the field after making repairs to their boat following the practice accident on Friday afternoon.
With two laps remaining, the Blue Roo maintained a comfortable cushion at the front of the field, but Al Wasl still needed to take a second long lap and would fall behind Victory 3 and into third place as Luhrmann and Nilsen claimed the chequered flag for the second successive day, and Victory Team moved into second in the series with the runner-up spot.
The third round of the UIM XCAT World Championship (races five and six) takes place next weekend along the coast in Xiamen.

2017 Weihai Grand Prix – Race 2 Result (unofficial):
1. The Blue Roo (Team Australia) 8 – Brett Luhrmann (AUS)/Pål-Virik Nilsen (NOR) – 42min 03.28sec
2. Victory 3 – Salem Al-Adidi (UAE)/Eisa Al-Ali (UAE) – @25.70sec
3. Al Wasl 7 – Arif Saif Al-Zafeen (UAE)/Nadir bin Hendi (UAE) – @26.84sec
4. Weihai-China 10 – Giovanni Carpitella (ITA)/Darren Nicholson (AUS) – @1min 15.49sec
5. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – Rashed Al-Tayer (UAE)/Majed Al-Mansoori (UAE) – @1min 33.69sec
6. Swecat Racing 2 – Mikael Bengtsson (SWE)/Erik Stark (SWE) – @1min 47.09sec
7. New Star 9 – Mikhail Kitashev (RUS)/Dmitry Vandyshev (RUS) – @2min 26.40sec
8. Fujairah Team 20 – Serafino Barlesi (ITA)/Alessandro Barone (ITA) – 1 lap behind
9. Caccia Engineering 22 – Diego Testa (ITA)/Daniele Martignoni (ITA) – 1 lap behind
10. Raheeb 17 – Abdullatif Al-Omani (KWT)/Mustafa Al-Dashti (KWT) – 1 lap behind
11. Lady Spain 46 – Roberto Lo Piano (ITA)/Andrea Comello (ITA) – 1 lap behind

2017 UIM XCAT World Championship – Standings After Race 4 of 8 (unofficial):
1. The Blue Roo (Team Australia) 8 – 118pts
2. Victory 3 – 115pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – 104pts
4. 222 Offshore 10/Weihai–China 10 – 86pts
5. Fujairah Team 20 – 61pts
6. Swecat Racing 2 – 59pts
7. Caccia Engineering 22 – 56pts
8. Al Wasl 7 – 46pts
9. New Star 9 – 43pts
10. Raheeb 17 – 28pts
11. Lady Spain 46 – 14pts

Report: Neil Perkins