Al Mulla looks to secure fourth world freestyle title as Al Tayer, Ortendahl seek big finish to world aquabikes season
Abu Dhabi, UAE: Rashid Al Mulla is confident that he can clinch a fourth successive world aquabikes crown as Team Abu Dhabi look for a triple success at next weekends’ Grand Prix of Kuwait.
The Emirati star goes into the final round of the this year’s shortened UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship aiming to clinch another freestyle title by extending his remarkable winning sequence of 12 consecutive Grand Prix victories and 26 moto wins.
Team-mates Rashed Al Tayer and Emma-Nellie Ortendahl, meanwhile, both return to action aiming to finish the season with wins in Runabout GP1 and Ski Ladies GP1 respectively.
Al Mulla was in dominant form at the opening world championship round, the Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy, securing pole position and then completing back-to-back moto victories to take a six-point lead over his main rival, Italy’s Roberto Mariani.
“I feel amazing right now, and I’m looking forward to Kuwait,” said Al Mulla. “We’ve worked hard to prepare the ski and I’ve been training every day, so everything looks good.”
Al Tayer, who helped Team Abu Dhabi record a one-two powerboat racing triumph at the UIM World Endurance Championships in Poland in July, would happily settle for a repeat of his performance on the first two days of last year’s Grand Prix of Kuwait.
The Team Abu Dhabi rider clinched pole position in Runabout GP1, and 24 hours later powered his way to an emphatic victory in the opening moto of the season.
In moto two, he held a comfortable lead from Kuwait’s multiple world champion, Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq, before being halted by mechanical problems on the eighth of 18 laps, and has made mechanical adjustments to boost his prospects.
“I was very fast last season, but we were running with too much power, so we’ve reduced the power this time because I have to finish to win,” he said.
Ortendahl, the third member of the Team Abu Dhabi line-up in Kuwait, is ready for a big challenge as she looks to reignite her bid for a fourth Ski Ladies GP1 world title.
She trails championship leader and fellow Swede Jonna Borgstrom by 16 points after a difficult time at the opening round in Sardinia where she claimed pole position and finished third overall, despite a series of electrical problems and a collision which put her in the water.