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Team Abu Dhabi's Rashid Al-Mulla clinches maiden Freestyle World title in Sharjah

Team Abu Dhabi's Rashid Al-Mulla clinches maiden Freestyle World title in Sharjah

12.12.2018: 2018 UIM-ABP AQUABIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Grand Prix of Sharjah, UAE December 11-14 Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

2018 UIM-ABP AQUABIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Sharjah, UAE  – December 11-14
Wednesday, December 12th, 2018





•    Technical woes for Al-Tayer in Runabout GP1; Jeremy Perez wins Moto 1 and 2


•    Austrian Kevin Reiterer closes in on Ski Division GP1 title; Uzare and Ortendahl to decide Ski Ladies


Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al-Mulla followed in the footsteps of the legendary Florjancic brothers to confirm his maiden UIM-ABP Freestyle World Championship title at Khalid Lagoon in Sharjah on Wednesday.




The Emirati has totally dominated the Freestyle category this season and victory in both Moto 1 and Moto 2 on Wednesday gave him an unassailable lead in the points’ standings. By winning his maiden title, Al-Mulla became the first aqua stunt rider since Italy’s Valerio Calderoni in 2011 to etch a name other than Nak or Roc Florjancic on the winners’ silverware.



The 31-year-old Emirati continued where he left off in the qualifying heat to dominate Moto 1 with a potent array of acrobatics that impressed the judges in terms of variety, quantity, entertainment and style. An array of barrel-rolls, back-flips, reverse 360s, fountains and combinations and quick and smooth transfers gave him 90 points. The success enabled Al-Mulla to continue his 100% winning streak so far this season. Portugal’s Paulo Nunes claimed second and the UAE’s Ali Abdeljalil was third.


 
There was no respite in Moto 2 and the Team Abu Dhabi driver confirmed a sixth successive win to seal the title. Nunes and Alexander Kuramshin were second and third in Moto 2 after world number one Roberto Mariani suffered ongoing issues with his equipment and failed to start. Abdeljalil aborted his second Moto after engine problems.




Al-Mulla said: “I have been working on this programme for seven years now and I have continued to develop and improve my display. To win the World Championship is a special feeling. I am so happy for my team. Now I can enjoy the final Moto on Friday as the World Champion.”




Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Tayer lined up in fourth on the front row for Runabout GP1’s 25 minutes and an extra lap of Moto 1, but the Emirati made a disappointing start and was down in eighth position at the end of the opening circuit. Series leader Jeremy Perez led from Lars Akerblom but Kuwait’s defending champion Yousef Al-Abdulrazzaq was penalised for hitting a buoy and dropped to fifth before improving to fourth, his struggle exacerbated by a niggling shoulder injury.




Al-Tayer retired with a throttle sensor issue after two laps, as Perez went on to claim the win from a late charging Al-Abdulrazzaq, Akerblom and James Bushell and extended his series lead to six points. Mattia Fracasso lost out on third place on the last lap and was towed back to the pits with a battery issue.




Al-Tayer said: “After the pole position I had some problems with my boat. Before Moto 1 we finished the engine. We did not have time for any tuning. We went to the race, but I missed speed because of a throttle sensor problem. I had to retire from Moto 1. Our mechanic did his best to fix the boat for Moto 2.”
 

Perez maintained a slender lead over Al-Abdulrazzaq through the early stages of Moto 2 and Al-Tayer benefited from engine sensor repairs to hold fifth. Al-Tayer displaced Roberto Alexander to snatch fourth behind Akerblom on the next lap. Unfortunately, he lost six places on lap four and eventually retired on lap six with what appeared by be a broken hose on the oil system, as Perez held on to extend his Runabout series lead over an injured runner-up Al-Abdulrazzaq to 11 points. Denmark’s Jan Jensen finished third.



The Victory Team’s Kevin Reiterer won Moto 1 in Ski Division GP1 from pole position, the Austrian rider cruising to the chequered flag 31.29sec ahead of 2018 European Champion Raphael Maurin of France to extend his series lead to 19 points. Dane Anders Keller was the best of a distant pack of riders and grabbed the bronze medal.



Reiterer closed in on the Ski Division GP1 title by winning Moto 2 by the margin of 30.75 seconds. The Austrian was again the class of the field and, even though Maurin finished second again, Reiterer now has a near unassailable 24-point lead. Belgian Quinten Bossche finished third.



Jasmiin Ypraus was the surprise winner of Moto 1 in Ski Ladies. The Estonian passed the chequered flag 5.41sec ahead of Latvia’s Krista Uzare, who applied the pressure on the leader in the closing minutes of the eight-lap race. Jonna Borgström rounded off the podium positions after pre-race favourite and fellow Swede Emma-Nellie Ortendahl failed to deliver in the race and slipped to fourth after dropping the bike and lost ground on series leader Uzare. The leading quartet were in a class of their own.




Ortendahl ensured that the outcome of Ski Ladies goes down to the wire on Friday by winning Moto 2 by the margin of 14.67 seconds. Ypraus and Uzare rounded off the podium positions and the latter now leads the series by seven points. “I changed my mind set for Moto 2,” said Ortendahl. “I reloaded. I pushed all I had. I knew it was the last Moto of the day. It went great.”




Etihad Airways is the official carrier for Team Abu Dhabi that is also supported by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and runs under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, advisor to the Head of State and chairman of the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club and under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, Vice-President and CEO of the ADIMSC. The racing team runs under the umbrella of the ADIMSC, board member and general manager Salem Al-Remeithi.




Moto 3 heats take centre stage on Friday from 14.00hrs. Tomorrow (Thursday) is the turn of the F1 H2O competitors to take to the water for their free practice and BRM Qualifying sessions.










 Khalid Al Saadi, Neil Perkins -  photos Team Abu Dhabi

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/team-abu-dhabi-rashid-al-mulla-freestyle-world-title-sharjah-gp---184430.html

12.12.2018 / MaP

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