Strong winds forced officials to cancel the second race of the Xiamen Grand Prix in China on Sunday. Winds in excess of 15 knots and choppy conditions meant the course was deemed unsafe and teams now head to Dubai at the end of November to decide the final outcome of the 2017 UIM XCat World Championship.
Although Blue Roo’s Brett Luhrmann and Norway’s Pal Virk Nilsen head for Dubai with a modest lead over Victory 3’s Salem Al-Adidi and Eisa Al-Ali, reigning XCat world champions Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi in Al Wasl showed they are back in form after the first Xiamen race, and as far as we know they have never lost a race in their home waters although this time they won’t be in the familiar blue colours of the Victory team as they were in the last series.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori were lined up in seventh position for race two after their disappointing finish to race one on Saturday, and the Emirati duo face a fight back from third position in the championship standings at Mina Seyahi in five weeks time.
Team Australia’s Brett Luhrmann and his Norwegian co-pilot Pål Virik-Nilsen lead the 2017 championship by 11 points from Victory Team’s Salem Al-Adidi and Eisa Al-Ali heading back to the Middle East.
Race 2 – Cancelled
Positions from race one were used to determine the starting order for the last of the six Chinese XCat races. Al Wasl, therefore, would lead the Blue Roo and Swecat Racing through the first gate, but Team Abu Dhabi had to play catch up from seventh place.
The wind had strengthened for race two to around 15 knots and XCat officials shortened the Pacific Ocean course on safety grounds to a start lap and 12 laps with no long laps to negotiate and include in the strategy.
The race boats assembled and began to follow the pace cat which stayed out on the course for an extra lap due to the increasingly precarious conditions before the decision was taken to suspend the race and the red flag was raised. Racing was cancelled soon afterwards.
The Blue Roo recorded the fastest lap during the final Chinese practice session of the season on Sunday morning with a lap of 2min 15.810sec on their fifth lap of the course. Victory Team and Caccia Engineering ran them close, but Team Abu Dhabi and Swecat Racing did not start the session.
2017 UIM XCAT World Championship – Standings After Race 6 of 8:
1. The Blue Roo (Team Australia) – 148pts
2. Victory 3 – 137pts
3. Team Abu Dhabi 5 – 116pts
4. 222 Offshore/Weihai–China/Miphere Xiamen – 104pts
5. Swecat Racing 2 – 85pts
6. Al Wasl 7 – 81pts
7. Fujairah Team 20 – 71pts
8. Caccia Engineering 22 – 63pts
9. New Star 9 – 52pts
10. Raheeb 17 – 34pts
11. Lady Spain 46 – 22pts