Strong southerly wind and adverse tide forces BRM Qualifying to be postponed until Sunday

PORTIMÃO (PORTUGAL): Saturday, July 30:  Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi snatched a five-point outright lead in the UIM F-4S Trophy by winning the opening race in boat 56 at the Grand Prix of Portugal, on the Arade River in Portimão, on Saturday. 

 The Emirati led for all but one of the 20 laps to claim his second series win by 19.39 seconds from Dutch rival Ferdinand Zandbergen. Al-Qamzi trailed Kalle Viippo on the opening tour of the course, but an early yellow flag slowed the field and the Team Abu Dhabi driver snatched the lead and went on to win.

 Team-mate Mohammed Al-Mehairbi had flipped Team Abu Dhabi 65 on Friday afternoon and went on to finish eighth after team technicians had repaired his boat in time for the race.

 Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella and Thani Al-Qamzi had hoped to take part in what would have been a pulsating BRM Qualifying session for the third round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship. But a strong southerly wind and an outgoing tide made race conditions too dangerous and H2O Racing officials made the decision to postpone the qualifying session until Sunday morning for the second time in the space of three weeks. 

 “The conditions were getting worse with the wind and the effect of the flow of the river,” said UIM safely commissioner Luis Ribeiro. “This form of racing is a dangerous sport and safety in always of paramount importance. This was the obvious decision to take, because the forecast was not good and we were already running later than scheduled.”

 Team Abu Dhabi is supported by Etihad Airways as the official carrier and sponsor 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 (ADIMSC). The racing team runs under the auspices of the ADIMSC and assistant general manager Salem Al-Remeithi. 

 Teams were permitted free practice on Saturday morning, although Team Abu Dhabi had tested before the race on the Arade River and Al-Qamzi was happy with his engine in the rough conditions. Erik Stark of the Emirates Racing Team had been quickest in the practice session with a best lap of 44.58sec. Eighteen of the 19 boats took to the water and Carella and Al-Qamzi were down in fifth and seventh positions after running for 17 and 16 laps, respectively.

 In addition to the BRM Qualifying, which replaces free practice for the F1 boats, the F-4S racing reaches its conclusion on Sunday with practice, time trials and the second race.  The 2016 UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix of Portugal then roars into life in the afternoon.

 2016 UIM F-4S Trophy – positions after race 3:

1. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    52 pts    

1. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NLD) Baba Racing                                  47 pts

3. Kalle Viippo (FIN) Team Sweden                                                               42 pts

4. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team                                     27 pts

5. Mohamed Al-Yamahi (UAE) Victory Team                                    21 pts

6. Ali Bin Shaiban (UAE) Emirates Racing Team                                      12 pts

6. Tom Chiappe (FRA) EMIC Racing Team                                                12 pts                                          

8. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                      8 pts                                                       

9. Paolo Longhi (ITA) Blaze Performance Team                                    6 pts