Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Mulla begins UIM Aquabike world title defence in Portugal

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Rashed Al Mulla. Image: Simon Palfrader.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Mulla will be looking to extend his remarkable unbeaten run to a seventh Grand Prix when the 2019 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship gets under way in Portugal next weekend.

The reigning world freestyle champion begins the defence of his title in the season opening three-day Grand Prix event getting under way in Portimao on Friday.

Dominating the Freestyle category last season, Al Mulla clinched his first world title with a brilliant display in the final round on Khalid Lagoon to complete his sixth Grand Prix win in a row.

Since then the Emirati has been working tirelessly to improve some of his trademark tricks, including barrel-rolls, back-flips, reverse 360s, and combinations, and to develop new ones.

“I’ll be introducing three new tricks in the world championship,” said Al Mulla. “I’ve been working on my backflip, the barrel role and a double back flip. I’ve been practicing every day and also working hard in the gym. If I don’t have any problems with the ski I’m 100 per cent confident that I can win the world title again.”

Also representing Team Abu Dhabi in the Grand Prix of Portugal will be Rashid Al Tayer who lines up again in the Runabout GP1 championship and Salman Al Awadhi who contests the Ski Division GP1.

Al Tayer returns to international jet ski racing just a week after helping Team Abu Dhabi produce a brilliant victory in the 24 Hours of Rouen, part of the world powerboat endurance racing series.

Sponsored by Etihad Airways, Team Abu Dhabi runs under the umbrella of Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club which has its sights on multiple world titles this season.

A week after the aquabike grand prix, reigning UIM F1H2O world team champions Shaun Torrente and Thani Al Qemzi begin the defence of their title in Portugal following the weather affected opening round in Saudi Arabia.

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Duo making final preparations for Dubai International Baja

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Fedor Vorobeyev.

The South Racing Can-Am Team duo of Oman’s Abdullah Al Zubair and Russia’s Fedor Vorobeyev are in the UAE making their final preparations for this weekend’s Dubai International Baja, round two of the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.

The two drivers are tackling rounds of both the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and the shorter Bajas this season and have already taken part in events in Russia and Qatar in their Can-Am Maverick X3s, entered in the competitive T3 category.

Al Zubair and fellow Omani Faisal Al Raisi finished second in the T3 category and 11th overall at last month’s Baja Northern Forest Rally in the Republic of Karelia and currently trail T3 series leader Michele Cinotto by just seven points in the race for the Baja title that will be fought out over eight rallies in Russia, Dubai, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Jordan and Portugal.

The AZ Racing Team driver teamed up with navigator Nasser Al Kuwari the following week to finish 11th overall and fourth in T3 at the Qatar Cross-Country Rally after incurring one stage maximum time penalty following a turbo failure.

Vorobeyev and fellow Russian navigator Kirill Shubin finished sixth in T3 and 15th overall in Russia and delivered an impressive performance together in Qatar to cross the finish line second in T3 behind Reinalde Varela and in a superb seventh overall.

Abdullah Al Zubair.

Abdullah Al Zubair.

The crew will again run their South Racing Can-Am under the Zavidovo Racing Team banner in the UAE from March 7-9.

Competition in the T3 category in Dubai comes from series leader Cinotto, former FIA T2 world champion Adel Abdulla, Spain’s Santiago Navarro and Emirati driver Michel Fadel.

The Dubai International Baja is organised by the Automobile Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATC UAE) and runs to a shorter format than the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

Based at the Dubai Autodrome, crews will tackle two selective sections of 201.60km and 204.03km on Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, before the ceremonial finish back at the Dubai Autodrome on Saturday afternoon.

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Formula E to introduce new London street race for 2020 season

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Formula E is set to return to the UK next summer with the streets of London hosting a race in season six of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

The race will take part around London Docklands, with the starting grid and finishing straight located inside the ExCel Centre, and will be the season finale double-header of the 2019/20 campaign on July 25 and 26.

ExCeL will be the new home of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in the UK as part of a multi-year agreement and represents a first return to the capital for the sport since the London ePrix in 2016.

“Every motorsport series would love to host an event in London – this has been our desire for quite some time now and we’re delighted to have found a new home in the Royal Docks at ExCeL London,” said Formula E founder and chief executive officer Alejandro Agag.

“Formula E coming back to the UK extends beyond pure racing excitement, it’s also a strong message for London to tackle inner-city air pollution by promoting clean technologies and electric sustainable mobility.”

The world’s first all-electric international single-seater championship began in the grounds of Beijing’s Olympic Park in 2014 and now has nine manufacturers, 11 teams and 22 drivers on the grid with races taking places on city streets around the world.

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