Al-Mehairbi loses out on maiden UIM F-4S victory; second title for Germany’s Szymura

Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 17: Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella and Thani Al-Qamzi put themselves in position to clinch the UIM F1H20 World Championship teams title in tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Sharjah as Swede Erik Stark clinched his first pole position.

 On a day when both Abu Dhabi drivers were hindered by mechanical problems, Carella qualified in fifth position and Al Thani seventh for the season-ending finale on Khaled Lagoon.

 Carella will look for a big improvement after what he described as “a bad day” affected by propeller problems, while Al-Qamzi will also look to pick up the pace after his qualifying bid was cut short when both propellers broke.

They have the F1 world teams title within reach, however, carrying a two-point lead over the CTIC China Team into the final round.

 Team Dhabi’s Mohammed Al Mehairbi was denied his first F-4S Trophy victory when he was disqualified for technical reasons after being first home in the opening F4 race.

 With the outcome of the F1 drivers’ title race already decided in favour of Frenchman Philippe Chiappe for a second season, attention has turned to the seven drivers battling it out for runners-up spot, and the battle between Team Abu Dhabi and the CTIC China Team.

 The Emirates Team’s Stark had won the Q2 session with a lap of 48.07 seconds and claimed an emphatic maiden career pole position with his opening lap of 47.22 seconds in the Q3 shoot-out. 

 Two-time World Champion Chiappe had already clinched the 2015 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position title and the Frenchman stormed to provisional pole with an opening lap of 47.66 seconds and improved still further to clock a 47.34 second tour, before being upstaged by Stark at the 11th hour.

 Victory’s Team’s Shaun Torrente opened his account with a lap of 47.53 seconds to settle into second place behind Chiappe and will start the Grand Prix of Sharjah from third.

 Norway’s Marit Stromoy qualified in fourth position with a solitary lap of 47.74sec, while Carella was third of the drivers on to the course for the Q3 shoot-out and his only lap of 47.75 seconds was 1/100th of a second short of the time set by Marit Stromoy. The Italian duly qualified in fifth.

 Finland’s double World Champion Sami Selio was not able to beat Stromoy’s opener in the shoot-out and settled for a best lap of 48.08 seconds to qualify in sixth.

 Six of the 18 entrants were eliminated in Q1, the first of three traditional qualifying sessions on the demanding Sharjah course. Al-Qamzi booked his slot in Q2 with an early lap of 49.78 seconds and was closely followed by Chiappe, Torrente and Carella into the second session where many of the front-runners ran for only a few laps to preserve their boats for Q2. Christophe Larigot, Jesper Forss, Francesco Cantando, Nadir Bin Hendi, Filip Roms and Bartek Marszalek were eliminated.

 A further six boats fell by the wayside in Q2 to reduce the runners to six for the final two-lap shoot-out. Torrente put a fast lap of 49.62 seconds in early to give himself an excellent chance of making Q3 and Carella and Al-Qamzi slotted in behind the American until Selio and Chiappe pushed them down to fourth and fifth.

 Carella moved up the leader board with a lap of 48.51 seconds to confirm his place in the top six alongside a flying Stark, Torrente, Chiappe, Selio and Marit Stromoy, with Al-Qamzi edged out of the shoot-out and into seventh place after something hit his gearbox. Ziwei Xiong, Jonas Andersson, Yousef Al-Rubayan, Ahmed Al-Hameli and Duarte Benavente joined Al-Qamzi out of the shoot-out.

 There was a dramatic start to the first of the weekend’s two F-4S races when Al-Mehairbi’s boat flipped backwards, forcing a yellow flag. He went on to take the lead two laps after the restart but after coming home first was disqualified as his boat had lost its emgine cover. Team-mate Rashid Al-Qamzi finished seventh.

2015 Grand Prix of Sharjah – time trial result:

 1. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Team                                                     47.22 sec

2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team                                     47.34 sec

3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Victory Team                                              47.53 sec

4. Marit Stromoy NOR) EMIC Team                                                   47.74 sec

5. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi                                               47.75 sec

6. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                               48.08 sec

 2015 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – final positions:

 1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team                                     97 pts

2. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                               63 pts

3. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi                                               51 pts

4. Youssef Al-Rubayan (KUW) F1 GC Atlantic Team                        45 pts

5. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Victory Team                                              48 pts

6. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Team                                                     34 pts

7. Thani Al-Qamzi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi                                        20 pts

8. Ahmed Al-Hameli (ARE) Emirates Team                                        19 pts

9. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden                                           12 pts

10. Marit Stromoy (NOR) EMIC Team                                                9 pts

 2015 UIM F-4S Trophy – current standings:

 1. Mike Szymura (DEU) F1 GC Atlantic Team                                    109 pts

2. Joakhim Halvorsen (NOR) Team EMIC                                          63 pts

3. Anton Nyholm (FIN) Team Sweden                                                60 pts

4. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi                          51 pts

5. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NED) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team          43 pts

6. Rashed Al-Qemzi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi                                     42 pts

7. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC China Team                                          34 pts

8. Mansoor Al-Mansoori (ARE) Emirates Team                                  31 pts


 1.      Team Abu Dhabi's Alex Carella – chasing his second win in 8 days

2.      Thani Al Qamzi – aiming for the world teams title