ABU DHABI INTERNATIONAL MARINE SPORTS CLUB

TEAM ABU DHABI’S SHAUN TORRENTE SEALS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE IN SHARJAH THRILLER

Sharjah race victory not enough for Stark to win title; Jonas Andersson finishes second

Frenchman Tom Chiappe wins F4 Trophy title; Mohammed Al-Mehairbi seventh in final F4 race

 

SHARJAH (UAE): Saturday, December 15:  Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente is the new World Champion after a fitting finale to a barnstorming UIM F1 H2O World Championship at the 19th Grand Prix of Sharjah on Khalid Lagoon on Saturday.

 

Third place was sufficient for the American to claim his maiden world title by four points, despite the fact that team-mate Erik Stark did all he could to lead the race from pole position to the chequered flag.

 

Torrente, the new World Champion, said: “This has been my lifelong dream and ambition. I thank everyone at home in Fort Myers and my amazing team at Team Abu Dhabi. We had problems the last two races. They (the team) said keep your head up, it will work out. I came from seventh to third and I did just that. We made it work and we are World Champions together.

 

“What a race. What a restart. I was fighting my mind trying to keep it all together. I was just managing my race. I knew I was in a good spot. I was just trying to get it home. I got a run on the second restart on Sami (Selio) and I just let it hang. Thankfully it didn’t blow over. I knew I was there. I knew I was safe in fourth if it stayed like that. It’s all done now. I couldn’t take another day like that…!”

 

The three-driver battle for the championship became a duel when Thani Al-Qemzi sustained engine issues midway through the race. The Emirati had moved up from sixth to third at the start, but was pegged back by an unfortunate yellow flag. He held third until technical issues ruined the title dream after 17 of the 44 laps.

 

Race winner Stark said: “I didn’t hope too much before, you know. Shaun is a very good driver. I did my race and I could not do any more. I had some bad luck in Abu Dhabi. That was it.”

 

A disappointed Al-Qemzi said: “This is racing. I broke my engine. Maybe some electrics broke inside. I did my best from the start. I was second and there was an accident and I went back to sixth at the next start. I push hard, but I had no luck.”

 

Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson finished in a solid second place and Finland’s Sami Selio of the Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team finished fourth with Andersson’s team-mate Erik Edin rounding off the top five. Their performances were overshadowed somewhat by the Team Abu Dhabi fever at the top of the championship standings.

 

His Highness Dr. Sheikh 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, congratulated His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, President of the UAE, on Team Abu Dhabi’s second successive world title and the sixth in the team’s history.

 

He also congratulated His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and the Supreme Council members and the people of the UAE on the achievement.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi rounded off his F4 Trophy challenge with seventh place in the second of the weekend’s races where Frenchman Tom Chiappe claimed the title for the Emirates Racing Team by finishing the race in third behind Alexander Lindholm and German title rival Max Stilz. The Victory Team’s Ahmed Al-Fahim led from the start pontoon to the chequered flag but was handed a one-lap penalty for a jumpstart.

 

Grand Prix of Sharjah

 

After all the hype and fanfare in the build-up to the showdown, Stark, Al-Qemzi and Torrente lined up in pole, sixth and seventh on the pontoon. Stark needed a top two finish in the 44-lap race to stand any chance of claiming the title. Torrente needed to finish in front of Al-Qemzi or at least fourth if Stark was to win. Engine changes pushed Chiappe, Trask and Edin down the starting order.

 

The stage was set for lights-out and a thrilling finale to a pulsating season. A spanner in the potential works for Torrente was the introduction of a demarcation buoy for those sitting in P7 to P17, while the top six would head along the 530-metre straight for the commitment buoy. The touch paper had been set for on-water fireworks…

 

A slight headwind into the first turn didn’t help matters, but Stark and Al-Qemzi made a stunning start and managed to hold first and third through the opening turns. But a yellow flag for Sutthipan Sookbuangbon’s barrel-roll at turn one ruined the Emirati’s start and he was pushed back to sixth before the resumption.

 

Action resumed on lap three and Stark maintained his lead from Andersson, Al-Qemzi, Selio and Torrente, but Torrente moved passed Selio and into fourth place. Al-Qemzi and Torrente very nearly came together on the next couple of turns and lost a little real estate heading into lap six, as Stark continued to lead Andersson by 2.56 seconds. It was advantage Torrente in the title stakes as it stood. Carella overtook Selio to snatch fifth place.

 

Lap eight, and Stark maintained his lead over Andersson, Al-Qemzi and Torrente and extended his advantage to 4.08 seconds at one-quarter distance. Bartek Marszalek was sidelined on lap 11, but the leading six drivers held station and Stark reached lap 15 with a 2.97-second lead. The title was still in Torrente’s hands on count back so long as he finished fourth and Al-Qemzi wasn’t able to overtake Andersson and Stark and grab the lead.

 

Stark’s lead grew to 4.32 seconds on lap 16, but drama unfolded when Al-Qemzi spluttered off the circuit with engine electrical issues on lap 18 and Torrente moved up to third. It strengthened the American’s grip on the world title, as long as he could stay in the top four to the chequered flag. Stark led by 4.41 seconds at halfway and the pressure eased still further on Torrente when Carella suffered technical issues of his own on the 21st lap. The four-time World Champion’s demise lifted Selio into fourth behind Stark, Andersson and Torrente.

 

Stark maintained a solid lead of 4.13 seconds over Andersson into lap 27, but Torrente began to ease his pace slightly to conserve the engine and stay in third place. There were no changes to the running order inside the top 10 into lap 28, although Selio began to close in on Torrente and Peter Morin was forced out of the race. Torrente needed to be careful not to fall foul of an overtaking challenge by Selio and he managed to hold a 2.04-second lead over the Finn at the end of lap 34.

 

Race leader Stark kept his composure and guided his DAC through the closing nervy laps to confirm a start-to-finish victory. But it wasn’t enough to claim the world title.

 

Torrente was happy to shadow Andersson at distance and fend off the challenges from Selio and fifth-placed Francesco Cantando. He was 1.84 seconds in front of Selio with eight laps to run and coasted to the chequered flag in third place to seal his first world title and Team Abu Dhabi’s sixth. Cantando ran out of luck five laps from the finish and his retirement lifted Erik Edin into a fine fifth place.

 

Free practice

 

There was no point in the leaders taking any risks in the final practice session of the season and Team Abu Dhabi, in particular, used the session just to shakedown the boats and check everything was working before the race. 

 

Al-Qemzi clocked a 46.78sec lap early in the hour and returned to the pits ahead of Selio, Stark and Torrente. That time held until late in the session - where Stark put 13 laps on his engine to finish fifth - but a late burst from Strømøy saw the Norwegian grab the quickest lap of 46.70sec and Carella posted a late 46.72sec to go second. Andersson failed to start the practice hour after electrical issues.

 

F4 Trophy – race 2

 

Frenchman Tom Chiappe, Germany’s Max Stilz and England’s Sam Whittle stood a chance of winning the F4 Trophy with Chiappe heading into the showdown with an eight-point lead over the German and a 16-point advantage over Whittle. Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi was fourth, but a disappointing end to the season had cost the Emirati his chance to claim the title.

 

Chiappe posted his intent with the quickest lap of 44.65sec in a free practice session where he beat Lindholm by 2/100ths of a second. Al-Mehairbi finished the stint in fifth. But Alexander Lindholm hit back to claim pole position with a hot lap of 45.16sec and Ahmed Al-Fahim pushed Chiappe down to third on the pontoon. Al-Mehairbi settled into fourth, ahead of Chiappe’s title rivals, Stilz and Whittle. Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Remeithi qualified in 10thplace.

 

Al-Fahim got a jump on his nine rivals from the pontoon start and began to edge away from Lindholm, Stilz, Chiappe and Whittle through the opening turns of the 25-lap race. Al-Mehairbi and Al-Remeithi held eighth and 10th. The procession continued unchanged through the first 10 laps, although Lindholm continued to close in on the leader’s rooster tail.

 

By halfway, the lead was only 1.25 seconds but the Victory Team driver extended that advantage to 3.02 seconds with eight laps remaining. The chequered flag brought the procession to a conclusion with Al-Fahim taking the win from Lindholm and Stilz and Chiappe claiming the title. Al-Mehairbi and Al-Remeithi finished the race in seventh and ninth after Ali Allanjawi collided with his team-mate and race leader at turn four of lap 20, flipped the second Victory boat and lost ninth place.

 

As a result, the race finished under a yellow flag. But Al-Fahim was deemed to have jumped the start, was handed a one-lap penalty and duly gifted the win to Lindholm, as Team Amaravati clinched the Trophy Championship for Teams.

 

2018 Grand Prix of Sharjah – result:

  1. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Abu Dhabi                 44 laps
  2. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Amaravati                 @12.27aec        
  3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi @22.95sec
  4. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team @25.89sec
  5. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Amaravati                 @28.39sec
  6. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team L2           
  7. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                 L2
  8. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team                 L3
  9. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team                 L4
  10. Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team                                 L9
  11. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                 DNF                

Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        DNF

Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                                                     DNF

Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                                           DNF      

Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                                      DNF

Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team                                      DNF

Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) Maverick F1 Team                               DNF

 

2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – final standings:

  1. Shaun Torrente (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 89pts    
  2. Erik Stark (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                 85pts    
  3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 74pts
  4. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 54pts                                    
  5. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 42pts
  6. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                 35pts               
  7. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati 29pts                                
  8. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                 28pts               
  9. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati 25pts                                               
  10. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                 18pts                    
  11. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                 17pts    
  12. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                 9pts                                                               
  13. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 9pts
  14. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team 8pts                      
  15. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team                 8pts 
  16. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team                 7pts               
  17. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team                 5pts      
  18. Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team                                 3pts               
  19. Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) Maverick F1 Team 1pt               

 

2018 F4 Trophy – final standings:                                                               

  1. Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team                 137pts                                                  
  2. Max Stilz (DEU) Blaze Performance                                 132pts             
  3. Sam Whittle (GBR) F1 Atlantic Team                 118pts                                  
  4. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 109pts                                        
  5. Alexander Lindholm (FIN) Team Amaravati                 88pts                
  6. Ahmed Al-Fahim (UAE) Victory Team                 75pts                                                                                    
  7. Wu Bingchen (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team                 61pts               
  8. Pedro Fortuna (PRT) Team Sweden                 35pts
  9. Ben Jelf (GBR) Team Amaravati                                 27pts
  10. Rudolf Mihaldinecz (HUN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 22pts                                
  11. Xavier Autard (FRA) Maverick Racing                 21pts               
  12. Quentin Dailly (FRA) Maverick Racing 17pts                                          
  13. Ali Allanjawi (UAE) Victory Team                 11pts   
  14. Rashed Al-Remeithi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                 8pts 
  15. Camille Broutechoux (FRA) Maverick Racing                 8pts 
  16. Joris Colleret (FRA) Maverick Racing                                 7pts
  17. Louise Vella (AUS) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 5pts      
  18. Remi Sebastian (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 5pts
  19. Ian Gonsalves (GUY) Maverick Racing 3pts

 

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TEAM ABU DHABI’S RASHID AL-MULLA COMPLETES SEASON CLEAN SWEEP OF FREESTYLE MOTO WINS IN SHARJAH

  Jeremy Perez wins first Runabout GP1 title; Rashed Al-Tayer fails to start

        Reiterer wins Ski Division GP1 title; Uzare pips Ortendahl to Ski Ladies win

 

SHARJAH (UAE): Friday, December 14:  Team Abu Dhabi’s newly-crowned World Champion Rashid Al-Mulla brought down the curtain on a successful season to win Moto 3 and confirm victory in every Freestyle Moto heat during the 2018 UIM-ABP Freestyle World Championship at Sharjah’s Khalid Lagoon on Friday.

 

The 31-year-old Emirati was again in a class of his own with his unique array of style and panache and a subtle combination of somersaults, fountains, back-flips, spins and on-water acrobatics. His reward was 92 points from the panel of five judges. Second place and 63 points gave Portugal’s Paulo Nunes the runner-up spot in the final Freestyle classification. Russian stunt rider Alexander Kuramshin finished third on the day and UAE’s Ali Abdeljalil was fourth. 

 

Frenchman Jeremy Perez needed to finish fourth or higher in Moto 3 to claim a maiden Runabout GP1 and deprive Kuwait’s Yousef Al-Abdulrazzaq of a fourth successive and fifth title in total. Perez made the better start and led through the opening turns, but Al-Abdulrazzaq was not to be denied and he snatched the advantage on the turnover at the end of lap one. Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Tayer failed to start.

 

Al-Abdulrazzaq continued to lead into a black flag brought about by Christophe Agostini’s course violation and the leading duo held station into lap five. China’s Ronghua Wu was a close third. The Kuwaiti was not able to shake off the pursuing Perez and the pair passed the chequered flag separated by 19.39 seconds after the World Champion elect eased over the closing turns. Perez had done enough to confirm his first world title, but Wu’s mid-race retirement moved Lars Akerblom up to third place. James Bushell’s tremendous climb from outside the top 10 to as high as fourth fizzled out with technical issues with three and a half minutes of the 25 still to run. 

 

Al-Tayer had put the Moto 1 and Moto 2 disappointments firmly to the back of his mind to set the fastest lap in the morning’s Runabout practice session. The Emirati was much happier with the set-up of his bike and posted a best run of 1min 43.57sec and that was 4.81 seconds quicker than James Bushell. Title contenders Perez and Abdulrazzaq kept their powder dry for the Moto 3 showdown. 

 

In the Ski Division GP1 category, the Victory Team’s Kevin Reiterer had a 24-point advantage over 2018 European Champion Raphael Maurin heading into the final Moto of the year and the Austrian only needed to finish in the points to secure the title. 

 

He edged into a 5.31-second advantage over Maurin through the opening lap and went on to extend that to a winning margin of 32.76 seconds to clinch a second world title and a first since 2015. Belgian rider Quinten Bossche passed Maurin on lap six and wrapped up second, but Maurin finished as the runner-up in the championship and finished third in the final eight-lap Moto. 

 

Reiterer posted his intent in the morning’s practice session with a fastest tour of 1min 54.79sec during his five circuits of the race course. Estonian Marten Manni was second and Frenchman Axel Courtois came in third. 

 

Krista Uzare came into the final Ski Ladies Moto with a seven-point advantage over Sweden’s Emma-Nellie Ortendahl and the Latvian snatched the Moto 3 lead and began to pull clear of Estonian rider Jasmiin Ypraus and her Swedish rival. Jonna Borgström was a distant fourth, as Katrin Nilbe withdrew from the race.

 

A determined Ortendahl overcame a mistake on her third lap and managed to pass Ypraus on the front stretch when the Estonian dropped her bike. The Swede began to close in on the leader and trailed by 5.26 seconds heading into lap five. Uzare was able to hold off the spirited challenge to claim a 3.89-second win and a maiden world title with the Swede finishing as runner-up. Borgström passed Ypraus to take third.

 

An overwhelmed Uzare said: “It’s amazing. I was confident I would win. I was always thinking what it feels like to become a World Champion. Here we are. There are no words for it. It’s amazing. I wanted to race with the fastest girls in the world and look where I am now. Latvia, we are a small country of two million and look what we can do...”

 

Virginie Morlaes was the surprise quickest in the morning’s Ski Ladies practice session with a lap of 2min 03.83sec. She ran seven tours of the course and was 3.25 seconds quicker than Ypraus. Series leader Uzare was third. 

 

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.

 

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the final day of the Sharjah World Championship week and F4 and F1 drivers will carry out practice during the morning. After F4 time trials, the F4 Trophy will be decided with the second race of the weekend from 14.30hrs. The 19th Grand Prix of Sharjah roars into life at 16.00hrs.

 

2018 Grand Prix of Sharjah

Freestyle – Moto 3 

1. Rashid Al-Mulla (UAE)                        92pts

2. Paolo Nunes (PRT)                                     63pts

3. Alexander Kuramshin (RUS)                     58pts

4. Ali Abdeljali (UAE)                                    54pts

5. Alberto Camerlengo (ITA)                      42pts

6. Roberto Mariani (ITA)                                     19pts

 

2018 UIM-ABP World Championship – final Freestyle standings

1. Rashid Al-Mulla (UAE)                        175pts

2. Paolo Nunes (PRT)                                     110pts

3. Roberto Mariani (ITA)                                     100pts

4. Alexander Kuramshin (RUS)                     96pts

5. Alberto Camerlengo (ITA)                      94pts

6. Ali Abdeljali (UAE)                                    40pts

 

2018 Grand Prix of Sharjah 

Runabout GP1 – Moto 3

1. Yousef Al-Abdulrazaq (KUW)                   14 laps

2. Jeremy Perez (FRA)                                        @19.39sec

3. Lars Akerblom (SWE)                                    @49.70sec

4. Lorenzo Benaglia (ITA)                   @1min 46sec

5. Andrzej Wisniewski (POL)                     @1min 59sec

Rashid Al-Tayer (UAE)                                    DNS

 

2018 UIM-ABP World Championship – final Runabout GP1 standings

1. Jeremy Perez (FRA)                                        156pts

2. Yousef Al-Abdulrazzaq (KUW)                   150pts

3. Lars Akerblom (SWE)                                    77pts

4. Gyorgy Kasza (HUN)                                   57pts

5. Johan Johansson (SWE)                    48pts, etc

 

2018 UIM-ABP World Championship – final Ski Division GP1 standings

1. Kevin Reiterer (AUT)                                  170pts

2. Raphael Maurin (FRA)                     137pts

3. Quinten Bossche (BEL)                    91pts

4. Stian Schjetlein (NOR)                   64pts

5. Martin Manni (EST)                                        53pts, etc

 

2018 UIM-ABP World Championship – final Ski Ladies GP1 standings

1. Krista Uzare (LVA)                                    151pts

2. Emma-Nellie Ortendahl (SWE)    139pts

3. Jasmiin Ypraus (EST)                                       93pts

4. Katrin Nilbe (EST)                                      86pts

5. Jonna Borgström (SWE)                    78pts, etc

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TEAM ABU DHABI’S RASHID AL-MULLA CLINCHES MAIDEN FREESTYLE WORLD TITLE IN SHARJAH

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

        Austrian Kevin Reiterer wins Ski Division GP1 world title; Uzare and Ortendahl to decide Ski Ladies

 

SHARJAH (UAE): Wednesday, December 12:  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 clinched 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 an 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.

 

2018 Grand Prix of Sharjah

Freestyle – Moto 1 and Moto 2 (combined)

1. Rashid Al-Mulla (UAE)                        180pts

2. Paolo Nunes (PRT)                                     127pts

3. Alexander Kuramshin (RUS)                     102pts

4. Alberto Camerlengo (ITA)                      87pts

5. Ali Abdeljali (UAE)                                    71pts

6. Roberto Mariani (ITA)                                     25pts

 

2018 UIM-ABP World Championship – current Freestyle standings

1. Rashid Al-Mulla (UAE)                        150pts

2. Roberto Mariani (ITA)                                     90pts

2. Paolo Nunes (PRT)                                     90pts

4. Alberto Camerlengo (ITA)                      83pts

5. Alexander Kuramshin (RUS)                     67pts

6. Ali Abdeljali (UAE)                                    29pts

 

2018 Grand Prix of Sharjah

Runabout GP1 – Moto 1

1. Jeremy Perez (FRA)                                        14 laps

2. Yousef Al-Abdulrazaq (KUW)                   @2.87sec

3. Lars Akerblom (SWE)                                    @41.68sec

4. James Bushell (GBR)                                    @59.86sec

Rashid Al-Tayer (UAE)                                    DNF

 

Runabout GP1 – Moto 2

1. Jeremy Perez (FRA)                                        14 laps

2. Yousef Al-Abdulrazaq (KUW)                   @51.72sec

3. Jan Jensen (DEN)                                    @114.82sec

4. Ronghua Wu (CHN)                                    @123.63sec

Rashid Al-Tayer (UAE)                                    DNF

 

Timetable of events

Friday, December 14

10.15-12.15                Free practice

14.00-16.00                Moto 3

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TEAM ABU DHABI’S ERIK STARK CLAIMS POLE POSITION FOR CRUCIAL SHARJAH SHOWDOWN

Championship leaders Torrente and Al-Qemzi to start race from seventh and sixth positions

  Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson qualifies in second; third for Finland’s Sami Selio

 

SHARJAH (UAE): Thursday, December 13:  Team Abu Dhabi’s Erik Stark claimed pole position to set up a thrilling finale to the UIM F1 H2O World Championship after a frantic BRM Qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Sharjah on Khalid Lagoon on Thursday afternoon.

Needing to finish first or second to have any chance of winning his first world title, the Swede claimed pole with a lap of 45.61sec and will have clear water for Saturday’s final race of the season.

 Championship leader and team-mate Shaun Torrente was pushed out of the Q3 shoot-out by his team-mate Thani Al-Qemzi in the dying seconds of the session and will start the race from the uncomfortable confines of seventh after complaining that his DAC’s electrics failed leaving him stranded off the course when he needed to post a quick lap. Al-Qemzi was not able to claim a top three starting position either and will start what is sure to be a pulsating showdown from sixth.

 

Behind Stark, Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson and Finland’s double World Champion, Sami Selio, of the Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team rounded off the podium qualifying positions. Frenchman Peter Morin of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team qualified fourth and the Victory Team’s Alex Carella was fifth.

 

A delighted Stark said: “It was amazing. I made a small mistake on my first lap and I was able to correct that on my second one and claim pole. It will be fun having Jonas (Andersson) on my side. The only thing I can do is win the race. I have done half of the work now. We have one day of rest tomorrow and then Saturday is race time again. The guys in the team have been fantastic and I really think we can go on and win the race. I had a bad race in Abu Dhabi, but we have moved on and I really enjoyed driving the boat. I know I have the speed.”

 

A disappointed Torrente added: “Everything was going to plan and we were going forward in Q2. I knew I needed to be quicker but we lost the dash, the trim, we lost everything. I came in directly because we cannot run like that. We tried to put a new battery in and nothing worked at all. Now I better get forward on Saturday….”

 

Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi finished fifth in the first of the weekend’s F4 Trophy races, but victory for Frenchman Tom Chiappe has given the Emirates Racing Team driver an eight-point cushion over Germany’s Max Stilz to take into the season’s finale on Saturday.

 

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. Team Abu Dhabi runs under the management of Salem Al-Remeithi, board member and general manager of the ADIMSC, and 10-time World Champion Guido Cappellini.

 

BRM Qualifying

 

With Ahmed Al-Hameli still recovering from ingesting water during his Abu Dhabi crash last week and Duarte Benavente sidelined with back pain, 17 boats took to the water for Q1 and five would be eliminated. A photo shoot for the aquabike riders disturbed the water in the opening minutes and Erik Edin was the first to break the 50-second barrier.

 

The water began to settle and Torrente carded the early target of 48.67sec and the Team Abu Dhabi trio stormed into the top three places and the relative safety of potentially qualifying. Selio went quickest with a 48.11sec and that was sufficient to win a session where a troubled Cédric Deguisne, Simone Schuft, Sutthipan Sookbuangbon, Grant Trask and three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe failed to make Q2 and Bartek Marszalek made the cut, although engine issues meant that he missed out on Q2.

 

Concentration levels were paramount for a crucial second session where none of the 11 survivors wanted to be in the bottom five or ‘on the bubble’ in the dying seconds. It was critical to post a fast lap early. Torrente hit the front with a 48.38sec only for Stark to run a 47.21 and top the times with 10 minutes to run. Torrente found himself down in eighth with seven minutes left after useful times by both Carella and Morin upped the pressure on the American. He responded with a 47.34 to leap back into the top six, as Selio topped the times with a 46.89 heading into the last five minutes. Al-Qemzi was now on the bubble himself, as Morin pushed Andersson out of the top six.

 

With less than three minutes to go Al-Qemzi slipped down to seventh as the pressure intensified and Torrente was pushed down to sixth. Morin topped the times with a 46.72, as Al-Qemzi missed out on the top six and Torrente nervously sat out the frantic final seconds only to see his team-mate post a 47.13sec and knock the American out id the top six. Marit Strømøy, Francesco Cantando, Filip Roms, Erik Edin and Torrente failed to make the six-boat Q3 shoot-out.

 

Last year’s pole winner Carella was first out and opened his Q3 account with a 46.63sec and improved with a 46.55. Al-Qemzi was next out for two of the most important laps of his career and he began with a 46.63 and followed up with a 47.20. It was not enough. Andersson responded with a stunning 45.67sec lap to hit the front and could not improve on his second tour.

 

Stark was next on the water knowing that he needed to finish in the top two places to stand any realistic chance of winning the title. The Swede opened up with a 46.01sec to move into second place and followed that with a pole-winning stunner of 45.61sec. A resurgent Selio and Morin stood in the multiple UIM F2 champion’s way and the Finn started out with a run of 46.11 to go third and maintained his position with a 45.79. 

 

Morin stood between Stark and a second pole position in seven days. The Frenchman slotted into fourth with a 46.22 but was unable to deprive Stark of a vital pole. It set up a fascinating three-way fight for the title on Saturday afternoon.

 

Free and extra practice

 

Torrente and Al-Qemzi sized each other up like a pair of old heavyweight boxers in the early exchanges in extra free practice before they slugged it out in the afternoon’s BRM Qualifying session. The American claimed the first round with a best time of 46.68sec in the first 15 minutes, with Al-Qemzi only 0.18 seconds behind in second. Stark sat out the first half of the stint where Andersson, Morin and Carella were the Team Abu Dhabi duo’s closest challengers.

 

A freak accident for Andersson forced the yellow flag to delay proceedings and enabled Stark to enter the course and benefit from clean water. He slotted into second with a 46.76sec lap with over 15 minutes to run. Al-Qemzi returned to the hot seat in the closing minutes to post the best time of 46.60sec to further ramp up the heat before the second round of practice in the early afternoon, as Stark closed to within 0.02 of Torrente’s quickest time. Stark then claimed the quickest lap of 46.08sec with four minutes to go and held on to win the session. Less than one second separated the top six with Bartek Marszalek impressing in fourth place.

 

The series-leading duo of Torrente and Al-Qemzi stayed off the water in the subsequent official practice session that went in favour of Stark with a fastest lap of 45.73sec. The Swede ran eight laps near the end of the hour and toppled Carella’s earlier time of 46.29sec.  Only 12 boats took to the water: Andersson guided his repaired DAC to third and Selio was fourth.

 

F4 Trophy – race 1

 

Frenchman Tom Chiappe, Germany’s Max Stilz and England’s Sam Whittle started the day as the favourites to push on and claim a first F4 Trophy title and they were able to size each other up for the first time in the morning’s free practice session. Team Amaravati’s Alexander Lindholm won the stint with a 44.86sec lap, as Stilz edged in front of Chiappe and Whittle. Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi is the fourth contender for the title and failed to start the practice stint.

 

It was a different story in the time trials to determine the race starting order and Chiappe leapt to the top of the rankings with a run of 45.00sec. Whittle slotted into second with a 45.14sec tour and Lindholm, Stilz and Al-Mehairbi rounded off the top five until a lap of 44.54sec gave Lindholm provisional pole and pushed Chiappe down to second. The Frenchman responded quickly to claim pole with a 43.97sec lap, as Lindholm slipped to second, the Victory Team’s Ahmed Al-Fahim moved up to third and Whittle, Al-Mehairbi and Stilz rounded off the top six in a session that finished under a yellow flag.

 

Chiappe led his rivals from the rolling start of the 25-lap opening race and began to edge clear of Lindholm and Stilz, as Al-Mehairbi got pushed wide early on but managed to find a way passed a spinning Al-Fahim and into fifth behind Whittle. The boats held their positions after the opening eight laps, despite Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Remeithi falling by the wayside after six, and the procession continued through halfway. 

 

Distances began to appear between the boats as the procession ran on unabated and Chiappe’s lead grew to 6.03 seconds after 16 tours of the course. There were no late dramas and the Frenchman sealed his third win in seven days by 13.00 seconds to take an eight-point championship advantage into the final race on Saturday. Lindholm passed the chequered flag in second, Stilz was third and Al-Mehairbi shadowed Whittle over the line in fifth to bring the procession to a welcome conclusion. The outcome gave Team Amaravati a five-point lead over Emirates Racing in the Trophy Teams’ Championship.

 

Friday is a rest day for the F1 H2O teams and then the rumble of Mercury engines will be heard for further practice on Saturday morning. This precedes the second of the F4 Trophy races at 14.30hrs and the 19th Grand Prix of Sharjah roars into life at 16.00hrs.

 

2018 Grand Prix of Sharjah – BRM Qualifying times

Q3

1. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Abu Dhabi                                                           45.61sec

2. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Amaravati                                           45.67sec             

3. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                                     45.79sec

4. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        46.22sec

5. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                                     46.55sec

6. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    46.63sec             

Q2

7. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi                                    47.34sec

8. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                                                48.11sec

9. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Amaravati                                                           48.53sec

10. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                                   48.95sec                  

11. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                                      50.67sec

12. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team                      DNS

Q1

13. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                50.40sec

14. Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) Maverick F1 Team                     52.20sec        

15. Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team                                                     55.66sec

16. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team                                     1min 07.88sec

17. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team                                                    1min 48.96sec

Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team                                    DNS

Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                                                     DNS

 

2018 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – final positions:

1. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Abu Dhabi                                                                107pts

2. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi                                    65pts                                                    

3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    62pts

4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Amaravati                                           43pts    

5. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        42pts    

6. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                                                35pts

7. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                                                31pts                                                                               

8. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        23pts

9. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                                     21pts

10. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati                           14pts    

11. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                     12pts                                    

11. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team                      12pts                    

13. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                                   9pts

 

2018 F4 Trophy – positions after race 11:                                                               

1. Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team                                      125pts                                                  

2. Max Stilz (DEU) Blaze Performance                                                                117pts             

3. Sam Whittle (GBR) F1 Atlantic Team                                                    109pts                                  

4. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                      105pts                                        

5. Ahmed Al-Fahim (UAE) Victory Team                                                     72pts                                                                                    

6. Alexander Lindholm (FIN) Team Amaravati                                                68pts

7. Wu Bingchen (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team                                     54pts               

8. Pedro Fortuna (PRT) Team Sweden                                                     35pts

9. Ben Jelf (GBR) Team Amaravati                                                                27pts

10. Rudolf Mihaldinecz (HUN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                22pts                                               

11. Xavier Autard (FRA) Maverick Racing                                              21pts               

12. Quentin Dailly (FRA) Maverick Racing                              17pts                                          

13. Ali Allanjawi (UAE) Victory Team                                                11pts   

14. Camille Broutechoux (FRA) Maverick Racing                                   8pts 

15. Joris Colleret (FRA) Maverick Racing                                                   7pts

16. Rashed Al-Remeithi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                      6pts 

17. Louise Vella (AUS) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                      5pts      

18. Ian Gonsalves (GUY) Maverick Racing                              3pts

 

Timetable of events

Saturday, December 15

09.10-09.30                F4 free practice

09.40-10.00                F4 time trials

10.15-11.15                F1 free practice

14.30-14.50                F4 race 2

16.00-17.00                Grand Prix of Sharjah

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THREE-WAY TEAM ABU DHABI SHOWDOWN FOR UIM F1 H2O WORLD TITLE IN SHARJAH

Torrente and Al-Qemzi in winner-takes-all duel; third-placed Stark lurking to steal the spoils

  Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi locked in four-way fight for F4 Trophy title

 

SHARJAH (UAE): Tuesday, December 11:  Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente, Thani Al-Qemzi and Erik Stark will be locked in a three-way fight to decide the outcome of a pulsating UIM F1 H2O World Championship on Khalid Lagoon this weekend.

 

Torrente heads into Saturday’s final showdown with a three-point advantage over last weekend’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi winner Al-Qemzi, while engine issues last time out have pushed Stark down to third place and 12 points adrift the series leader.

 

If either Torrente or Al-Qemzi win the race on the revised course they will be World Champion for the first time. Should they falter and Stark finish second or higher, the Swede would be crowned World Champion. But the mathematical permutations continue: should another driver win, then Torrente would need to beat Al-Qemzi to win the championship and Al-Qemzi would need to finish four points in front of the American to reverse the scenario.

 

Al-Qemzi has an impressive record on Khalid Lagoon, however. The Emirati won here in 2006, 2008 and 2012 and has been on the podium five times in eight seasons. Torrente won here in 2016, when he finished as the series runner-up to Philippe Chiappe, and appears relaxed and composed ahead of the biggest race of his life.

 

A determined Al-Qemzi said: “I feel normal. I am ready for Sharjah. I win here three times before. I will try my best again. The start for me is no problem. I start behind on the last race and I managed to win. I will try and get the pole position and push. I will not take notice of any instructions. I want to win this race. Erik (Stark) has to push very hard to get some points. Don’t worry Shaun (Torrente), I have the secret for the start!”

 

Torrente added: “As a team we have achieved all of our goals, including winning the World Championships for Teams and Drivers. That said, my season has also exceeded my expectations. I have had three wins and three poles and I lead the Drivers’ Championship with one to go. Obviously I want to win the title but, if Thani wins it, I would be devastated if I didn’t win but to see him win would be good. He has done a great job as well. 

 

“I guess it’s winner-take-all for me and Thani, but there are so many other scenarios. I love Sharjah. I come here with the mindset that when you get here all the cards have been played. It’s a one-race deal. You don’t have to worry about the next race. I can just race free and have a good time. I wanted a better finish in Abu Dhabi, but that’s the way it goes. Abu Dhabi was a big deal for me. In the past, when situations weren’t going my way, I would press and turn a rough day into a really bad day and get no points or crash and not finish. I realised when the motor didn’t fire off the beach, it wasn’t my day. I salvaged what I could without taking any risks, knowing we had one more to go.

 

“We all want pole position to give us the best shot at winning the race. I am going to try like hell to get that. You don’t get any points for pole position though. Erik went to bed last Friday night thinking he may be leading the World Championship tomorrow. Now he’s 12 points behind and in a worse position than before. Erik has the least to lose. He can just go for it. He’s in third anyway, but there other drivers with Marit and Sami who are doing really well. Most of the season’s work has been done, now we just need to finish off the job!”

Time will tell which one of the three Team Abu Dhabi drivers will take the host emirate’s motto of ‘Smile – You are in Sharjah’ to heart on Saturday afternoon.

 

Seventeen drivers are expected to line-up at the start of the season finale, with Victory Team’s Ahmed Al-Hameli still recuperating from his spectacular coming together with Peter Morin last weekend. That said, Marit Strømøy of the Emirates Racing Team has hit a rich vein of form - qualifying second for the last two races - and Morin was impressive in Abu Dhabi for the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team.

 

Finland’s double World Champion, Sami Selio, of the Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team claimed a first podium of the season last weekend, while outgoing four-time champion Alex Carella would love to end the season on a high note for the Victory Team. The list of party-spoilers goes on and three-time champion Chiappe, Italy’s Francesco Cantando Poland’s Bartek Marszalek and Team Amaravati’s duo of Jonas Andersson and Erik Edin are capable of reaching Q3 and staying amongst the pack for the duration of what promises to be a thrilling race.

 

This is the first time that both the UIM-ABP Aquabike and UIM H2O World Championships have shared the race venue on the same weekend. H2O Racing’s President Nicolo di San Germano stated that six World Champions will be confirmed over the coming days.

 

The title showdown has detracted from the fight for the 2019 F4 Trophy where four drivers are in contention for the title. Frenchman Tom Chiappe and Germany’s Max Stilz are tied at the top of the points’ standings with 105 apiece, while England’s Sam Whittle is five adrift in third and Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi has 98 points in fourth. There will be two 20-minute races on Thursday and Saturday with 40 points at stake to the winner of each race. The outcome is likely to go to the final lap of the second race.

 

The F4 tussle is a fitting curtain raiser to the “Last Chance on the Lagoon…”

 

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. Team Abu Dhabi runs under the management of Salem Al-Remeithi, board member and general manager of the ADIMSC, and 10-time World Champion Guido Cappellini.

 

The timetable has been modified this weekend because of the UIM-ABP World Aquabike Championship. Thursday’s timetable (see below) features practice for all boats and then F4 time trials and the opening F4 race, before BRM Qualifying takes centre stage from 15.30hrs.

 

Friday is a rest day for the F1 H2O teams and then the rumble of Mercury engines will be heard for further practice on Saturday morning. This precedes the second of the F4 Trophy races at 14.30hrs and the 19th Grand Prix of Sharjah roars into life at 16.00hrs.

 

2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – standings after round 6:

1. Shaun Torrente (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    77pts    

2. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    74pts

3. Erik Stark (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                                           65pts    

4. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        54pts                                    

5. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        37pts

6. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                                                35pts               

7. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                                                19pts               

8. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                                     18pts                    

8. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati                                18pts                                               

10. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                                   17pts    

11. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati                 14pts                                    

12. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                                                9pts                                                               

13. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team                      8pts                      

14. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team                                                5pts 

14. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team                                    5pts      

14. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                     5pts

14. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team                                     5pts               

18. Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team                                                     2pts               

19. Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) Maverick F1 Team                     1pt               

 

2018 F4 Trophy – positions after race 10:                                                               

1. Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team                                      105pts                                                  

1. Max Stilz (DEU) Blaze Performance                                                                105pts             

3. Sam Whittle (GBR) F1 Atlantic Team                                                    100pts                                  

4. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                      98pts                                          

5. Ahmed Al-Fahim (UAE) Victory Team                                                     69pts                                                                                    

6. Alexander Lindholm (FIN) Team Amaravati                                                53pts

7. Wu Bingchen (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team                                     49pts                               

8. Pedro Fortuna (PRT) Team Sweden                                                     35pts

9. Ben Jelf (GBR) Team Amaravati                                                                27pts

10. Rudolf Mihaldinecz (HUN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                22pts                                               

11. Xavier Autard (FRA) Maverick Racing                                              21pts               

12. Quentin Dailly (FRA) Maverick Racing                              17pts                                          

13. Camille Broutechoux (FRA) Maverick Racing                                   8pts 

14. Ali Allanjawi (UAE) Victory Team                                                7pts

14. Joris Colleret (FRA) Maverick Racing                                                   7pts

16. Rashed Al-Remeithi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                      6pts 

17. Louise Vella (AUS) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                      5pts      

18. Ian Gonsalves (GUY) Maverick Racing                              3pts

 

Timetable of events

Thursday, December 13

09.00-10.20                F4 free practice

09.30-09.50                F4 time trials

10.15-11.15                Extra F1 free practice

13.00-14.00                F1 free practice

14.30-14.50                F4 race 1

15.30-16.30                BRM Qualifying

 

Saturday, December 15

09.10-09.30                F4 free practice

09.40-10.00                F4 time trials

10.15-11.15                F1 free practice

14.30-14/50                F4 race 2

16.00-17.00                Grand Prix of Sharjah

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TEAM ABU DHABI’S RASHID AL-MULLA LOOKS TO WRAP UP WORLD FREESTYLE TITLE IN SHARJAH

  Rashed Al-Tayer to represent Team Abu Dhabi in Runabout GP1 category 

 

SHARJAH (UAE): Monday, December 10:  Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al-Mulla will be aiming to secure the prestigious UIM-ABP Freestyle World Championship title when the series reaches a thrilling finale on Khalid Lagoon in Sharjah this weekend.

 

The 31-year-old Emirati has climbed to third in the world rankings as a result of his stunning performances earlier in the season in Olbia and Gallipoli. He heads to the showdown on the Lagoon 20 points clear of the world number one Roberto Mariani, largely as a result of his more impressive display of aerial spins, flips and fountains in a display that has earned the Team Abu Dhabi stuntman praise the world over.

 

Al-Mulla only needs to stay ahead of Mariani to secure the championship and cap what has already been a remarkable week for Team Abu Dhabi – the team that clinched the UIM F1 H2O Teams’ and Pole Position World Championship titles in Abu Dhabi last weekend.

 

Competition for Al-Mulla is likely to come from Russia’s Alexander Kuramshin, Portugal’s Paulo Nunes and the ever-improving Italian Alberto Camerlengo.

 

Team Abu Dhabi has also entered the experienced Rashed Al-Tayer in the fiercely contested Runabout GP1 category. The veteran of Class 1, XCAT and F2 racing enjoys his forays into Aquabike racing and will be hoping to upset the fight for the outright championship that features the likes of Frenchman Jeremy Perez and Kuwait’s defending champion Yousef Al-Abdulrazzaq. The pair are separated by just one point coming into the weekend’s racing.

 

The Victory Team’s Kevin Reiterer looks well-placed to regain the Ski Division GP1 title he first and last held in 2015. He has a 14-point lead over the 2018 European Champion Raphael Maurin. Reiterer has an impressive record on Khalid Lagoon, but a breakdown in the final Moto in 2017 is a stark reminder to the Austrian that nothing can be taken for granted.

 

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.

 

The weekend’s action gets underway with free practice and pole position qualifying on Tuesday. Moto 1 and Moto 2 take centre stage on Wednesday and further free practice and Moto 3 take place on Friday.

 

2018 UIM-ABP World Championship - Freestyle standings

1. Rashid Al-Mulla (UAE)                        100pts

2. Roberto Mariani (ITA)                                     80pts

3. Alberto Camerlengo (ITA)                      59pts

4. Paolo Nunes (PRT)                                     50pts

5. Alexander Kuramshin (RUS)                     38pts

 

Timetable of events

Tuesday, December 11

09.30-12.30                Free practice

14.30-17.30                Pole Position 

 

Wednesday, December 12

10.00-12.00                Moto 1

15.00-17.00                Moto 2

 

Friday, December 14

10.15-12.15                Free practice

14.00-16.00                Moto 3

 

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TEAM ABU DHABI’S THANI AL-QEMZI BECOMES FIRST ARAB DRIVER IN HISTORY TO WIN GRAND PRIX OF ABU DHABI

Team Abu Dhabi confirms third UIM F1 H2O Teams’ Championship in four years

  Torrente maintains series lead after finishing sixth; engine woes for Stark

  Frenchman Peter Morin takes second place; third for Finland’s Sami Selio

 

ABU DHABI (UAE): Saturday, December 8:  Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qemzi created a little piece of history by becoming the first Arab driver ever to win the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi. The Emirati snatched the lead on the first lap and held off a fierce challenge from Frenchman Peter Morin to seal the win by 0.91 seconds at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Saturday afternoon.

 

The Emirati’s first win in the UIM F1 H2O World Championship since Sharjah in 2012 also catapulted the local star into second place in the World Championship standings – three points behind team-mate Shaun Torrente – and they will lock horns with Erik Stark to decide the outcome of the championship next weekend in Sharjah.

 

An overwhelmed Al-Qemzi, shrouded by VIPs, well-wishers and media in the pits, said: “I made a good start and I went far away from everyone and I keep a little bit away. I kept my line. My boat was strong. I felt relaxed and I pushed hard from that. The last five laps, I see that he (Morin) stay behind me and then I go very fast. Insha’allah, next week I do the same. This is my country. I have always been nervous here and never had any favours and now I made it. This is a fantastic win for the whole team. We are all so happy.”

 

Torrente finished the race in a subdued sixth position, but technical issues and a non-finish for Stark after 29 laps means that Torrente can seal the title if he wins the last race of the year, as can Al-Qemzi! Stark will be relying on the performance of his team-mate in what promises to be a white hot finale to a frenetic season.

 

With the excitement in the pits and paddock area after the sensational home win, Morin’s gutsy second place went virtually unnoticed, while Finland’s Sami Selio bounced back from a miserable season to claim third place for the Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team. Marit Strømøy of the Emirates Racing Team finished fourth and Italian veteran Francesco Cantando was a fine fifth.

 

Team Abu Dhabi also confirmed a third UIM F1 H2O Teams’ Championship title in four seasons, after winning the prestigious competition in 2015 and 2017. The success was also the third Teams’ title for the team operating out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) under the management of Salem Al-Remeithi, board member and general manager of the ADIMSC, and 10-time World Champion Guido Cappellini.

 

Cappellini said: “After 18 years, Thani has won the race in our home. It has been an important day because we have won the Teams’ World Championship. The Drivers’ Championship is not closed. Now in Sharjah it will be one incredible game for our three drivers. The first goal today was to win the Teams’ Championship and now we can focus on next weekend.”

 

Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi suffered a setback to his F4 Trophy hopes with a disappointing seventh place in the second race. Frenchman Tom Chiappe secured a second win of the weekend to snatch the joint championship lead with Germany’s Max Stilz. England’s Sam Whittle moved up to third in the standings, while Al-Mehairbi now heads to the final round in fourth place, seven points behind the joint leaders.

 

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.

 

Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

 

With Sutthipan Sookbuangbon still in Thailand and Victory Team’s Ahmed Al-Hameli missing the 48-lap race on medical grounds after his accident on Friday, 17 boats lined up at the start pontoon. Stark, Al-Qemzi and Torrente were in pole, third and sixth for the host team and Strømøy was sandwiched between the two front-running Team Abu Dhabi boats.

 

The frantic dash to the commitment buoy and the opening couple of turns would be absolutely critical to the outcome of the race with the pole sitter winning each of the five races so far this season.

 

Stark made a poor start and ceded the lead to Strømøy and second place to Al-Qemzi, but the Norwegian struggled through the opening turn and Al-Qemzi snatched the lead from Morin, Stark, a rampant Selio, Strømøy and Cantando at the end of lap one. Torrente held seventh place, but Erik Edin spun after starting fifth off the pontoon and fell to 15th.

 

Al-Qemzi extended his advantage to 5.29 seconds into lap four and continued to fend off Morin, Stark and Selio over the next few laps. All 17 starters were still running into lap nine, where Al-Qemzi held a lead of 3.30 seconds over Morin and Torrente was still catching the spray of sixth-placed Cantando.

 

The leaders began to catch and overtake the tail-enders but there were no changes on the leader board and Al-Qemzi headed Morin by 4.47sec into lap 13 with Stark in third and Torrente in seventh. But Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson pulled to a stand still with engine issues, lost his eighth place and joined team-mate Edin as the first retirements.

 

Heading into lap 20, Al-Qemzi led Morin by 2.67 seconds and Stark, Selio and Strømøy rounded off the top five, but Torrente could find no way to pass sixth-placed Cantando. There were no changes at halfway and Al-Qemzi remained on course to become the first Arab ever to win the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, although Morin had closed to within 2.23 seconds.

 

The 15-boat procession continued through the next few laps and an inspired Al-Qemzi continued to fend off the Morin challenge and maintain his advantage. But Stark dramatically pulled off the race course on lap 30 with technical issues and Selio was promoted to third place. The Swede’s demise also lifted Torrente into sixth and boosted his title hopes, as four-time World Champion Alex Carella also spluttered to a stop to wrap up a miserable weekend for the Victory Team.

 

Into lap 36 and Al-Qemzi led Morin by 3.15 seconds with Selio a distant third, Strømøy a hard-charging fourth, Cantando in fifth and Torrente in sixth place. There were no changes to the running order with eight laps remaining and Al-Qemzi was able to retain his composure and make his own little piece of history, much to the delight of Team Abu Dhabi, the ADIMSC and the local crowd.

 

Morin confirmed second place, Selio claimed his first podium of a miserable season and Strømøy finished fourth, ahead of Cantando, Torrente, Bartek Marszalek, Philippe Chiappe, Cédric Deguisne and Filip Roms.

 

Free practice 2

 

The final practice session on Saturday morning marked the last opportunity for teams to arrive at the optimum set-up for the race and try out propeller choices and shakedown the boats for the last time. Times were largely irrelevant, but Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson topped the standings for much of the session with a 44.11sec lap and had pole-sitting Erik Stark and Marit Strømøy trailing in his wake entering the final 15 minutes.

 

Al-Qemzi left it late to eventually top the times with a confidence-boosting run of 43.90sec that put Andersson down to second and Stark to third. Strømøy, Peter Morin and Alex Carella rounded off the top six, as Shaun Torrente kept his powder dry for the afternoon with seventh place.

 

F4 Trophy – race 2

 

Ten boats lined up for the morning’s practice session and it was Frenchman Tom Chiappe, the winner of race one, who clocked the quickest lap of 1min 02.28sec to edge Alexander Lindholm by 1/100ths of a second.

 

The two drivers were at the top of the leader board early in the time trials as well, with Lindholm leading the way with a run of 1min 02.11sec at the halfway point. Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi and Rashed Al-Remeithi were fifth and eighth after Rudolf Mihaldinecz missed out on the session with technical issues sustained in the practice session.

 

Chiappe went on to claim pole position for the race with a late fast lap of 1min 02.03sec and pipped Lindholm, Bingchen Wu and Ahmed Al-Fahim to the bragging rights. Al-Mehairbi and Al-Remeithi qualified in sixth and ninth.

 

Lindholm pulled away from the original green flag before the boats were pulled back again for a restart. The Finn was on top again at the second attempt and he gradually began to pull away from Chiappe, Sam Whittle and Al-Fahim. Al-Mehairbi slipped down to ninth and Al-Remeithi held 10th place.

 

The Team Amaravati driver maintained a 4.79-second advantage through five laps and the pursuing nine boats held station heading into laps, six and seven until Rudolf Mihaldinecz hit trouble and slipped out of the running, his demise lifting Al-Mehairbi and Al-Remeithi into seventh and ninth.

 

After a short yellow flag delay because of a loose turn buoy, action recommenced and Chiappe managed to snatch the lead and stamp his authority on proceedings. Whittle and Al-Fahim trailed in his wake and Lindholm slipped to fourth.

 

The Frenchman held to through the remaining laps - and a late yellow flag because there were balloons on the course - to seal his second race win of the weekend and leap into serious contention for the title with a first aggregate race victory. Whittle did his title hopes no harm at all with second place and Al-Fahim filled the final podium place. Max Stilz maintained his title push with fifth, but seventh place for Al-Mehairbi dented his title hopes, as Al-Remeithi finished ninth.

 

2018 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi – result:

1. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    48 laps 

2. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        @0.91sec

3. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                                     @31.43sec

4. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                                      @32.69sec

5. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                                   @36.29sec                 

6. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi                                    @46.27sec

7. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team                                      L1           

8. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Tea                            L1

9. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team                                     L3               

10. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                     L4

11. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team                                    L4

Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team                                                    DNF

Erik Stark (SWE) Team Abu Dhabi                                                           DNF

Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team                                                     DNF

Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                                                     DNF

Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Amaravati                                                                DNF               

Erik Edin (SWE) Team Amaravati                                                                           DNF

Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                                                     DNS

Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) Maverick F1 Team                     DNS

 

2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – standings after round 6:

1. Shaun Torrente (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    77pts    

2. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    74pts

3. Erik Stark (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                                           65pts    

4. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        54pts                                    

5. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        37pts

6. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                                                35pts               

7. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                                                19pts               

8. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                                     18pts                    

8. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati                                18pts                                               

10. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                                   17pts    

11. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati                 14pts                                    

12. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                                                9pts                                                               

13. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team                      8pts                      

14. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team                                                5pts 

14. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team                                    5pts      

14. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                     5pts

14. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team                                     5pts               

18. Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team                                                     2pts               

19. Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) Maverick F1 Team                     1pt               

 

2018 F4 Trophy – positions after race 10:                                                               

1. Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team                                      105pts                                                  

1. Max Stilz (DEU) Blaze Performance                                                                105pts             

3. Sam Whittle (GBR) F1 Atlantic Team                                                    100pts                                  

4. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                      98pts                                          

5. Ahmed Al-Fahim (UAE) Victory Team                                                     69pts                                                                                    

6. Alexander Lindholm (FIN) Team Amaravati                                                53pts

7. Wu Bingchen (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team                                     49pts                               

8. Pedro Fortuna (PRT) Team Sweden                                                     35pts

9. Ben Jelf (GBR) Team Amaravati                                                                27pts

10. Rudolf Mihaldinecz (HUN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                22pts                                               

11. Xavier Autard (FRA) Maverick Racing                                              21pts               

12. Quentin Dailly (FRA) Maverick Racing                              17pts                                          

13. Camille Broutechoux (FRA) Maverick Racing                                   8pts 

14. Ali Allanjawi (UAE) Victory Team                                                7pts

14. Joris Colleret (FRA) Maverick Racing                                                   7pts

16. Rashed Al-Remeithi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                      6pts 

17. Louise Vella (AUS) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                      5pts      

18. Ian Gonsalves (GUY) Maverick Racing                              3pts

 

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TEAM ABU DHABI’S STARK, AL-QEMZI AND TORRENTE QUALIFY FIRST, THIRD AND SIXTH FOR ABU DHABI RACE SHOWDOWN

Pole-winning Stark clinches UIM Pole Position title; frustration for a flying Strømøy

Mohammed Al-Mehairbi finishes fifth in F4; start-to-finish win for Tom Chiappe

Stark pips team-mate Torrente to fastest time in morning’s practice session

 

ABU DHABI (UAE): Friday, December 7:  Team Abu Dhabi again deprived Marit Strømøy of the Emirates Racing Team of pole position in a dramatic finale to the BRM Qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Friday afternoon. In so doing, pole-winning Erik Stark also claimed the 2019 UIM Pole Position Championship title.

 

With the Norwegian sitting pretty at the top of the timing board - as she had done in India last month before being deprived of pole by Shaun Torrente - it was Stark’s turn to upset the applecart on this occasion and give his title hopes a major boost with a stunning final qualifying lap of 42.81sec.

 

The lead changed several times in a thrilling six-boat Q3 shoot-out that eventually saw Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qemzi qualify in third position and Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson and Erik Edin delivering impressive performances to qualify in fourth and fifth. Championship leader Torrente had been first on the water in not ideal water conditions and the American settled for sixth place with the start of Saturday’s race from the pontoon now taking on even greater significance.

 

A delighted Stark said: “I will enjoy this moment now and the podium and then, in 30 minutes, we start the work for tomorrow. It’s hot, it’s going to be a long race and it’s going to be tough. I didn’t actually do a perfect lap, but it was enough. It was amazing. I have been in Abu Dhabi since India. I knew if I had fun out there I would do well. All race winners this year have been from pole, so I knew the importance of the qualifying.”

 

Team Abu Dhabi’s team manager Guido Cappeliini added: “It’s an incredible end of this season. The drivers now are very close, especially our three drivers. There is a big pressure for this race and the next one. Fortunately, Thani now has a very good chance for tomorrow. Normally he makes a very good start, all the season. Maybe all our three boats can push hard and we can get three boats on the podium. Shaun is in sixth and now it depends on the start. It is very possible that we can get three boats in the top three positions after the second buoy.

 

“Marit has done an incredible job. I am very happy for this girl. She has been unbelievable now and done a very good job at the last two races. It is fantastic because the level of the World Championship is very high.”

 

Three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team failed to make it through Q1 and will start the race from 13th place. “We had a problem since India, no power, a problem with the engine,” said the Frenchman.

 

The Victory Team’s Ahmed Al-Hameli barrel-rolled out of Q2 after a high-speed coming together with Chiappe’s team-mate Peter Morin and emergency unscathed from the impact.

 

Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi finished fifth in the first of the weekend’s two F4 Trophy races and now trails Germany’s Max Stilz by three points in the title race with as many races remaining. Frenchman Tom Chiappe eased to a comfortable victory over England’s Sam Whittle and their performances have lifted them into close contention for a late push for the title.

 

BRM Qualifying

 

With Sutthipan Sookbuangbon stranded in Bangkok with a visa issue, only 18 drivers lined up at the start of the 20 minutes of Q1 and six would be eliminated. Francesco Cantando posted the first sub 46-second lap before Morin hit the top with a 45.70sec tour and Stark went even quicker with a 45.61. Torrente slotted into second with a 45.65 and the Team Abu Dhabi pair all but secured their places in Q2.

 

Andersson stormed into the top three with a lap of 45.57sec, as Stark went on to win the session with a 45.21sec lap from Andersson and Torrente. Cédric Deguisne, Simone Shuft, Filip Roms, Duarte Benavente, Grant Trask failed to make Q2 and a last gap lap by Bartek Marszalek pushed Chiappe out of the running.

 

It was critical that drivers were inside the top six during Q2 and Al-Qemzi started well to clock the target lap of 44.86sec. The session was yellow-flagged after a spectacular collision between Ahmed Al-Hameli and Peter Morin, with the Emirati Victory Team driver holding fourth place at the time of the crash. Morin pitted for potential repairs while the yellow flag remained in situ with his fifth place and a position in Q3 all but ruined.

 

Eighth-placed Torrente was relying on a restart before the clock ran out and race officials extended the session by five minutes. Action restarted with just three minutes 45 seconds remaining. Carella moved into the top six and Torrente clocked a 45.36sec lap to move into fourth place, displacing Carella in the process. Edin stomed into Q3 in the dying seconds as well and pushed Al-Hameli and Morin’s stricken boats out of the running. Marszalek, Cantando, Carella, Sami Selio, Al-Hameli and Morin failed to reach the six-boat Q3 shoot-out after Strømøy sneaked in at the death with another stunning lap.

 

Torrente was the first out in Q3 and opened up with a 44.31sec run and improved with a 44.13 to set a very beatable target. Andersson was next on the water and the Swede aborted his opening run in a bid for a fifth career pole and settled with a second tour of 43.88sec. Twenty-eight-year old Edin had to rely on his second lap and the Swede clocked a time of 43.94sec to push Torrente further down the starting order.

 

Al-Qemzi soaked up the local support and was next on the course. The Emirati stormed to the top of the leader board with stunning laps of 43.33sec and 43.25sec to claim provisional pole. Strømøy ran Torrente close to pole in India in November and the Norwegian opened her account with a tour of 43.71sec and stormed to pole with a 43.18sec stunner, much to the delight of the pit area.

 

All eyes were on Stark and the third Team Abu Dhabi driver opened with a 43.63sec lap to slot into third. The Swede then claimed pole with a 42.81sec flyer to shatter Strømøy’s dream.

 

 

Free Practice

 

A thrilling duel developed between Stark and Torrente in the latter stages of an uninterrupted free practice session with both Team Abu Dhabi drivers teetering on the edge of disaster on a windy straight in front of the main grandstand to set the fastest times. Stark twice looked as though he had overcooked it, but the Swede topped the times with a run of 43.94sec and that was enough to beat his championship rival by 0.17 seconds.

 

Strømøy was never going to make it easy for the host team and the Norwegian impressed with the third fastest time of 44.58sec. Morin and Al-Hameli were fourth and fifth. Al-Qemzi topped the times early in the session in the third Team Abu Dhabi boat and finished in eighth behind Selio and Carella.

 

F4 Trophy – race 1

 

Technical issues dictated that the F4 runners missed out on their initial practice session on Friday morning and 11 drivers headed straight into the qualifying session for race one. The session was yellow flagged when Camille Broutechoux flipped her Maverick Moore on the straight in front of the grandstand in gusting windy conditions.

 

Action resumed with a little over three minutes remaining, but Frenchman Tom Chiappe followed up his extra free practice session win on Thursday afternoon to claim pole position with a run of 1min 03.89sec. Victory Team’s Ahmed Al-Fahim was second and Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi qualified in third place, 0.80 seconds behind the leader. Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Remeithi was classified in 11th place.

 

Chiappe made a good start to lead from the pontoon, but the green flag was an unmitigated disaster for the Victory Team and both Ahmed Al-Fahim and Ali Allanawi ground to a halt at the start and drifted helplessly. The main beneficiary was England’s Sam Whittle and he passed Al-Mehairbi and settled into second place, ahead of Hungarian Rudolf Mihaldinecz. Al-Mehairbi and Al-Remeithi were sixth and eighth and Al-Mehairbi’s title rival Max Stilz held fifth, as Al-Fahim eventually got going nearly four laps down.

 

Chiappe continued to lead through 10 of the 20 laps, but Mihaldinecz had hit trouble and slipped out of the running after seven tours and promoted Alexander Lindholm to third and Stilz and Al-Mehairbi to fourth and fifth.

 

The leading Frenchman edged further away from his rivals as the race progressed and crossed the finish line 16.25 seconds ahead of Whittle, as both drivers closed the gap on Stilz and Al-Mehairbi at the top of the rankings. Al-Mehairbi reached the finish in fifth and Al-Remeithi was seventh. Al-Fahim’s persistence after the start fiasco gave him points for eighth place.

 

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.

 

Spectators are welcome to attend at the Abu Dhabi Corniche free of charge on Saturday. The ADIMSC has laid on trade stalls, refreshments and catering stands, childrens’ and family activities and live entertainment to entertain the crowds between the races.

 

2018 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi – BRM Qualifying times

Q3

1. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Abu Dhabi                                                           42.81sec

2. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                                      43.18sec

3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    43.25sec             

4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Amaravati                                           43.88sec             

5. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Amaravati                                                           43.94sec

6. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi                                    44.13sec

Q2

7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                                                     45.51sec

8. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        45.65sec

9. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                                     45.75sec

10. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team                      45.98sec             

11. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                     46.05sec

12. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                                   46.06sec                  

Q1

13. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Tea                            46.26sec

14. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team                                    46.95sec

15. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                     47.55sec

16. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team                                                    48.20sec

17. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team                                     48.22sec        

18. Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team                                                     52.32sec

Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) Maverick F1 Team                     DNS               

 

2018 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – standings after round 6:

1. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Abu Dhabi                                                                87pts

2. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi                                    65pts                                                    

3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    57pts

4. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        42pts    

5. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                                                35pts

6. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Amaravati                                           28pts    

7. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                                                24pts                                                                               

8. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                                     21pts

9. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati                           14pts    

9. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        14pts

11. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team                      12pts                    

12. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                                   9pts

 

2018 F4 Trophy – positions after race 9:                                                               

1. Max Stilz (DEU) Blaze Performance                                                                96pts                                               

2. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                      93pts                                                     

3. Sam Whittle (GBR) F1 Atlantic Team                                                    85pts                                    

4. Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team                                      85pts                                                      

5. Ahmed Al-Fahim (UAE) Victory Team                                                     66pts                                                                                                    

6. Wu Bingchen (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team                                     45pts                                                                

7. Alexander Lindholm (FIN) Team Amaravati                                                41pts               

8. Pedro Fortuna (PRT) Team Sweden                                                     35pts

9. Ben Jelf (GBR) Team Amaravati                                                                27pts

10. Rudolf Mihaldinecz (HUN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                22pts                                               

11. Xavier Autard (FRA) Maverick Racing                                              21pts               

12. Quentin Dailly (FRA) Maverick Racing                              17pts                                          

13. Camille Broutechoux (FRA) Maverick Racing                                   8pts 

14. Joris Colleret (FRA) Maverick Racing                                                   7pts

15. Louise Vella (AUS) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                      5pts      

16. Rashed Al-Remeithi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                      4pts

17. Ian Gonsalves (GUY) Maverick Racing                              3pts

 

Timetable of events

Saturday, December 8

09.10-09.30                F4 free practice

09.40-10.00                F4 time trials

10.15-11.15                F1 free practice

14.00                     F4 race 2

15.30                     Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

 

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TEAM ABU DHABI TRIO AIM TO CONFIRM UIM F1 H2O TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP AT HOME RACE THIS WEEKEND

Team Abu Dhabi’s Torrente heads into Breakwater showdown with seven-point lead over Stark

·  Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi and Germany’s Max Stilz set for duel in F4 Trophy

 

ABU DHABI (UAE): Wednesday, December 5:  Team Abu Dhabi faces one of the most important and potentially lucrative races in its history when the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) hosts this weekend’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, the penultimate round of the 2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship.

 

The team has dominated this year’s championship thus far and team drivers Shaun Torrente, Erik Stark and Thani Al-Qemzi head into the weekend’s action holding the top three places in the Drivers’ Championship. Team Abu Dhabi has a massive 53-point advantage in the UIM Teams’ Championship and Stark leads Torrente by seven points in the Pole Position Championship.

 

Mathematically, all three titles could be sewn up on the challenging 1.973km race course at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater by Saturday afternoon, although it is more likely that Team Abu Dhabi will clinch the Teams’ series for the third time in four years and the outcome of both the Drivers’ and Pole titles will go down to the wire in Sharjah on December 15th.

 

A pair of 1-2-3 finishes and a 1-3 outcome in Amaravati last month has put the Emirati team that runs under the umbrella of the ADIMSC, board member and general manager Salem Al-Remeithi and team manager Guido Cappellini in a superb position. Team Abu Dhabi drivers have won all five rounds of the series so far this year and claimed 11 of the 15 available podium places.

 

The team has been testing in the build up to a race where Torrente takes a seven-point lead over Stark into the weekend. An engine issue robbed Al-Qemzi of his chance to reach the podium in India, but the Emirati is determined to overcome the set back and reduce the 18 points by which he trails Torrente.

 

The Abu Dhabi driver needs to finish ahead of the American at the very least to keep his title hopes alive, while Stark will need to be at least fifth and collect at least eight points if Torrente wins the race at the Breakwater. More importantly, both Al-Qemzi and Stark will be hoping to push for the race win and take the outcome of the title battle to a thrilling conclusion at the final round.

 

The silverware is not just restricted to Team Abu Dhabi drivers, however, and a race win for fourth-placed Peter Morin of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team would keep the Frenchman in the hunt provided that Torrente didn’t finish inside the top five. Morin’s team-mate, three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe, holds fifth in the title race and needs at least two race wins to stand any chance of winning the championship for a fourth time.

 

There are several drivers more than capable of springing a surprise and spoiling the Abu Dhabi party on home waters. Defending champion and four-time World Champion Alex Carella of the Victory Team and his team-mate Ahmed Al-Hameli are sure to be quick in qualifying and have the pace to stave off the Abu Dhabi onslaught. They have also been testing in the build up to the race.

 

Marit Strømøy of the Emirates Racing Team finished second in India last month and very nearly upstaged Torrente to claim pole position on the Krishna River, while Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson and Finland’s Sami Selio will be pushing hard. Nineteen drivers are expected to take the start of the weekend’s racing.

 

Series leader Torrente, who carried out some late testing this morning, said: “This is our home race. We have had such an amazing season and I guess everyone else wants to beat us here. It’s kind of everyone else’s Super Bowl. We have everything pretty well in hand.

 

“We are pretty close to the Teams’ Championship. We have to take care of business and get some points and we should be okay. The Drivers’ Championship, we can at least, if we all run well here, we can lock it out for the last race. That would be nice. There are no team orders. In fact, Thani and I were testing this morning and we were working on his lap and his line and trying to get his time where it needs to be. My main goal is to win the championship. It would be amazing for Thani to win this race at home. He has never done it. The team is working hard to help him try and accomplish that.

 

“The weather forecast looks good. We have been working here for two weeks and we’ve had some changeable weather. It’s been a bit windy. It’s calmed down in the last few days. You test everyday and yet you never feel completely prepared. You still want to try something. Our rivals have also been working very hard. Marit ran great in India. She’s a very good driver. Her boat is suited to this race course and she did well here last year. Victory has been working hard as well and we saw the improvement in their pace in India. We are not sleeping. We understand that to get on top is hard and to stay on top is even harder.

 

“We are all fighting for our first World Championship. We have great equipment and a great team. As much as I want to win for myself, I want to win for the guys at Team Abu Dhabi. They work real hard.”

 

Meanwhile, Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi is trying to follow in the footsteps of Rashed Al-Qemzi and win the UIM F4 Trophy, the series that runs in conjunction with the F1 H2O Championship. Teams tackle two 20-minute races during the weekend’s timetable and Al-Mehairbi currently trails Germany’s Max Stilz by a single point with a potential 80 still at stake at the four remaining races in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

 

England’s Sam Whittle, Frenchman Tom Chiappe and the Victory Team’s Ahmed Al-Fahim have closed the gap on their rivals and good performances in Abu Dhabi could see a thrilling end to the F4 season on Khaled Lagoon.

 

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.

 

After free practice on Thursday afternoon, teams will tackle BRM qualifying on Friday and the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi is scheduled for 15.30hrs on Saturday afternoon. (see weekend’s timetable below).

 

Spectators are welcome to attend at the Abu Dhabi Corniche free of charge from 14.00hrs each day over race weekend. The ADIMSC has laid on trade stalls, refreshments and catering stands, childrens’ and family activities and live entertainment to entertain the crowds between the races.

 

2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – standings after round 5:

1. Shaun Torrente (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    72pts    

2. Erik Stark (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                                           65pts    

3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    54pts

4. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        39pts                                    

5. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        34pts

6. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                                                26pts               

7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                                     18pts                    

7. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati                                18pts                                               

9. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati                 14pts                                    

10. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                                   10pts    

11. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                                                9pts                                                               

12. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                     7pts               

13. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team                                                5pts 

13. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team                                    5pts      

15. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team                      4pts                      

15. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                     4pts

16. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team                                     3pts               

17. Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team                                                     2pts               

18. Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) Maverick F1 Team                     1pt               

 

2018 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – standings after round 5:

1. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Abu Dhabi                                                                67pts

2. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi                                    60pts                                                    

3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    45pts

4. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        42pts    

5. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                                                24pts                                                                               

6. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                                     21pts

7. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                                                20pts

8. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Amaravati                                           19pts    

9. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team                        14pts

10. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team                      12pts                    

11. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                                   9pts

12. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati                           7pts                                                      

 

2018 F4 Trophy – positions after race 8:                                                               

1. Max Stilz (DEU) Blaze Performance                                                                87pts                                               

2. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                      86pts                                                     

3. Sam Whittle (GBR) F1 Atlantic Team                                                    70pts                    

4. Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team                                      65pts                                                      

5. Ahmed Al-Fahim (UAE) Victory Team                                                     63pts                                                                                                    

6. Wu Bingchen (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team                                     40pts                                                

7. Pedro Fortuna (PRT) Team Sweden                                                     35pts

8. Alexander Lindholm (FIN) Team Amaravati                                                29pts               

9. Ben Jelf (GBR) Team Amaravati                                                                27pts

10. Rudolf Mihaldinecz (HUN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                22pts                               

11. Xavier Autard (FRA) Maverick Racing                                              21pts               

12. Quentin Dailly (FRA) Maverick Racing                              17pts                                          

13. Camille Broutechoux (FRA) Maverick Racing                                   8pts 

14. Joris Colleret (FRA) Maverick Racing                                                   7pts

15. Louise Vella (AUS) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                      5pts      

16. Ian Gonsalves (GUY) Maverick Racing                              3pts

Timetable of events

Thursday, December 6

08.00-15.00                Technical scrutineering

15.00-17.00                Extra free practice

 

Friday, December 7

09.10-09.30                F4 free practice

09.40-10.00                F4 time trials

10.15-11.15                F1 free practice

14.00                     F4 race 1

15.30                                BRM F1 qualifying

 

Saturday, December 8

09.10-09.30                F4 free practice

09.40-10.00                F4 time trials

10.15-11.15                F1 free practice

14.00                     F4 race 2

15.30                     Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

 

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