ADIMSC title contenders set to battle with rivals for supremacy on new Chinese course
XIANGYANG (CHINA): Tuesday, September 18: Team Abu Dhabi’s racing trio of Thani Al-Qemzi, Erik Stark and Shaun Torrente are heading for a gripping showdown on the Han River at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Xiangyang, round four of the 2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship.
The trio operating out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) clinched an historic 1-2-3 finish at the 22nd Grand Prix of France on Lac Leman in Évian-les-Baines during the summer and that has catapulted them to the top three positions in the World Championship standings, as the series heads to China and India before concluding with two races in the UAE in December.
A recent test session in Italy has further strengthened the team’s resolve and multiple world champion Giudo Cappellini, Team Abu Dhabi’s racing manager, is confident that they have found the most effective set-up for the conditions the drivers are likely to face on Xiangyang’s Han River.
Stark will line-up on the seven-pin, 2.23km race course defending a two-point championship lead over Al-Qemzi, while Torrente holds third position – a further seven points behind. Team Abu Dhabi has a comfortable 26-point lead in the UIM Teams’ Championship and Stark leads the UIM F1 H2O Pole Position series by three points.
Three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team holds fourth place, five points behind Torrente, and his team-mate Peter Morin is a close fifth. The remainder of the field is some way behind after the opening three rounds of the series in Portugal, England and France and they include World Champion Alex Carella of the Victory Team, his team-mate Ahmed Al-Hameli and Team Sweden’s Erik Edin.
Torrente said: “The feeling in the team is really good and we are all very positive. Thani, Erik and I were testing in Italy recently along with the F2. It was fun. We have new propellers that we hope will suit the race course in China. The engine development has been continuing, so all is looking good. We hope the fight stays inside the team. All of us want to win but, as long as one of us wins, that’s all that matters. We must be strong and stay with the spirit we have now. We are really enjoying it.”
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 and team manager Guido Cappellini.
Team Abu Dhabi will also field Mohammed Al-Mehairbi in a pair of F4 Trophy races. The smaller formula boats skipped the last round of the F1 H2O series in France and the Emirati heads to China holding second position in the points’ standings behind Germany’s Max Stilz of the Blaze Performance Team. Emirates Racing’s Tom Chiappe is third after four races in Portimão and London.
Xiangyang is a prefecture-level city in the north-west of China’s Hubei province and was formerly known as Xiangfan. The city is divided by the Han River and is the second largest in the province after Wuhan.
After technical scrutineering and administration on Friday morning (September 21), a 90-minute free practice for the F1 boats gets underway at 14.00hrs. This precedes free practice and time trials for the F4 entrants.
Further free practice is scheduled for Saturday morning and the first of the F4 races gets underway at 12.00hrs. BRM Qualifying for the F1 boats starts at 15.00hrs (11.00hrs UAE time) and is followed by the second of the F4 races at 15.30hrs
Sunday’s (September 23) action is restricted to the F1 boats. Practice is scheduled for 08.00hrs and the Grand Prix of Xiangyang will fire into life around 11.00hrs (07.00hrs UAE time).
2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – standings after round 3:
1. Erik Stark (SWE) Maverick F1 Team/Team Abu Dhabi 41pts
2. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 39pts
3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi 32pts
4. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 27pts
5. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 26pts
6. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden 11pts
7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 10pts
8. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 9pts
9. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 8pts
10. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 7pts
11. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts
11. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 5pts
13. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts
14. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team 3pts
14. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 3pts
14. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team 3pts
2018 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – standings after round 3:
1. Erik Stark (SWE) Maverick F1 Team/Team Abu Dhabi 40pts
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 37pts
3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 27pts
4. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 24pts
5. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi 20pts
6. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 14pts
7. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team 12pts
8. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 9pts
8. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 9pts
10. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden 7pts
11. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 5pts
2018 F4 Trophy – positions after race 4:
1. Max Stilz (DEU) Blaze Performance 54pts
2. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 39pts
3. Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team 37pts
4. Pedro Fortuna (PRT) Team Sweden 35pts
5. Wu Bingchen (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team 30pts
6. Ahmed Al-Fahim (UAE) Victory Team 26pts
7. Xavier Autard (FRA) Maverick Racing 21pts
8. Sam Whittle (GBR) F1 Atlantic Team 19pts
9. Quentin Dailly (FRA) Maverick Racing 17pts
10. Louise Vella (AUS) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 5pts
11. Ian Gonsalves (GUY) Maverick Racing 3pts
12. Rudolf Mihaldinecz (HUN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 2pts