POLE POSITION FOR FINLAND’S SELIO AS TEAM ABU DHABI’S CARELLA QUALIFIES FOURTH IN HARBIN
POLE POSITION FOR FINLAND’S SELIO AS TEAM ABU DHABI’S CARELLA QUALIFIES FOURTH IN HARBIN
Thani Al-Qamzi qualifies 11th for Team Abu Dhabi as Chiappe and Torrente miss out on Q3 shoot-out
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi takes third and extends UIM F4-S series lead to 17 points
HARBIN (CHINA): Saturday, September 2: Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella will need to call upon all his nerve and resolve if he is to extend his UIM F1 H2O World Championship lead in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Harbin in northern China. The Italian qualified in fourth position for the first of two Chinese rounds of the series, as pole position fell to Baba Racing’s flying Finn Sami Selio on the four-pin Hulan Estuary Wetland Park course.
Ahmed Al-Hameli of the Emirates Racing Team looked to have claimed his fourth career pole position with a last gasp lap of 36.25 seconds, but the lap was later erased from the records following a course violation and Selio’s earlier time of 36.60 seconds was sufficient for the double World Champion to pip his Finnish team mate Filip Roms to pole position by just 4/100ths of a second.
Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson rounded off the podium places in third, although Carella’s fourth place enabled the Team Abu Dhabi driver to extend his advantage in the UIM F1 H2O Pole Position series to 15 points. Erik Stark and Al-Hameli rounded off the top six.
Thani Al-Qamzi missed out on the final six-boat shoot-out for pole position and the second Team Abu Dhabi driver will start Sunday’s race from 11th position. Somewhat surprisingly, double World Champion Philippe Chiappe and title contender Shaun Torrente of the Victory Team missed out on the Q3 session and qualified in 15th and eighth places, respectively. Torrente was disappointed that his set-up and propeller choice for Q2 had not been ideal.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi finished a processional UIM F4-S race in third and fourth positions after F1 Atlantic Team’s Jeremy Brisset led from start-to-finish to claim his first victory in the series. With Kalle Viippo and Ferdinand Zandbergen not starting, third place meant that Al-Qamzi extended his series lead to 17 points.
“It’s getting to a crucial time in the season with three races to go after this one and it was important that Alex qualified in the leading group for Sunday’s race,” said Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC). “His closest rivals will start behind him on the pontoon on Sunday and that gives him a great chance to make a clean start and steal a march on them.”
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, racing manager Guido Cappellini and assistant general manager Salem Al-Remeithi.
Carella stormed to the top of the leader board at the start of Q1 with an early lap of 37.51 seconds and he was followed by Al-Qamzi in a lap of 38.62 seconds. But the session was yellow flagged soon afterwards, when the Victory Team’s Nadir Bin Hendi barrel-rolled his DAC out of contention at high speed on the back straight.
Action resumed with 10 minutes of Q1 remaining and Carella and Al-Qamzi safely made it into Q2 in first and seventh positions, although Bin Hendi, Bartek Marszalek, Mike Szymura, Francesco Cantando, Jesper Forss and reigning World Champion Philippe Chiappe were eliminated.
A further six of the original 18 starters would be eliminated in Q2. Carella stormed to the top of the times from the outset with a potent lap of 37.19 seconds to virtually book his place in the Q3 six-boat shoot-out. Al-Hameli ran an even quicker lap of 37.05 seconds to claim the early bragging rights, but both drivers looked set for Q3. Al-Qamzi was down in 11th position with a time of 38.84 seconds with eight minutes of the session remaining and ran the risk of missing out on the Q3 shoot-out.
Al-Hameli and Carella safely made it into Q3, but several drivers jostled for the remaining four places through the closing minutes. Al-Qamzi, Ziwei Xiong, Shaun Torrente, Marit Stromoy, Duarte Benavente, Christophe Larigot eventually missed out on Q3, with the Team Abu Dhabi driver qualifying for Sunday’s race in 11th place.
Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson was the first of the six Q3 shoot-out drivers out on to the water and set the target of 36.85 seconds on his opening lap. Erik Stark was next up and the Swede carded a 37.18 second opener and was unable to better the time on his second tour. Baba Racing’s Filip Roms managed to beat Andersson’s time with a lap of 36.64 seconds on his first lap to claim provisional pole and that was the best of his two tours of the Wetland Park course.
Roms’s team-mate and former World Champion Sami Selio was next on the course and the flying Finn carded a solitary lap time of 36.60 seconds to pip Roms and leap to the top of the leader board. Series leader Carella followed the Finn on to the water and the Italian clocked a first lap of 36.90 seconds that put him into fourth place. His second attempt was slower and the Team Abu Dhabi driver was forced to settle for his opening lap time.
Ahmed Al-Hameli of the Emirates Racing Team was unable to match Selio’s time with his opening lap of 37.80 seconds, but he stormed through to take pole position on his second lap with a stunning time of 36.25 seconds, only for race officials to wipe out his second time, thus demoting the Emirati to sixth and handing pole position back to Selio.
UIM F4-S Trophy – race 1
After a free practice session where Jeremy Brisset of the F1 Atlantic Team clocked the fastest lap of 1min 02.28sec and Team Abu
Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi and Rashed Al-Qamzi were down in third and fourth of the nine runners, Brisset continued his good form in the time trials to claim pole position with a lap of 1min 02.80sec. Magnus Sederholm qualified second and a resurgent Al-Mehairbi and Al-Qamzi reached the 20-minute race start in third and fourth places on the grid.
The leading quartet held station through lap one and Brisset extended his advantage to 3.36 seconds through the second tour of the Wetland Park course. Sixteen laps remained and the Frenchman continued to pull away from the Team Sweden rookie and the pair of Team Abu Dhabi drivers.
By the halfway point, after nine laps, Brisset held an 8.54 second lead over Sederholm and the Emirati duo of Al-Mehairbi and Al-Qamzi were firmly ensconced in third and fourth positions. The status quo remained intact until the chequered flag, with the Frenchman claiming a first ever F4-S victory from Sederholm by the margin of 10.31 seconds and Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi coming home in third and fourth places after the series leader overtook his team-mate on the closing lap.
Ahmed Al-Hameli of the Emirates Racing Team topped the times in Saturday morning’s second free practice session, the Emirati carding a best time of 36.37
seconds to edge the stint from Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson and Shaun Torrente. Carella and Al-Qamzi ran for 40 and 37 laps, respectively, and were fifth and eighth quickest.
The second of the F4-S races is pencilled in for 11.10hrs on Sunday morning and the Grand Prix of Harbin takes centre stage on the Hulan Estuary Wetland Park course from 15.00hrs (11.00hrs UAE time).
2016 Grand Prix of Harbin – BRM Qualifying result:
1. Sami Selio (FIN) Baba Racing 36.60sec
2. Filip Roms (FIN) Baba Racing 36.64sec
3. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 36.85sec
4. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi 36.90sec
5. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Racing Team 37.18sec
6. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Emirates Racing Team 37.80sec
11. Thani Al-Qamzi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 38.56sec
2016 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – current standings:
1. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 56 pts
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 41 pts
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Baba Racing 40 pts
4. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Racing Team 36 pts
5. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 29 pts
5. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 29 pts
7. Filip Roms (FIN) Baba Racing 15 pts
8. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 14 pts
9. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Emirates Racing Team 12 pts
2016 UIM F4-S Trophy – latest positions:
1. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 79 pts
2. Kalle Viippo (FIN) Team Sweden 62 pts
3. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NLD) Baba Racing 59 pts
4. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team 39 pts
5. Mohamed Al-Yamahi (UAE) Victory Team 30 pts
6. Jeremy Brisset (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team 27 pts
7. Tom Chiappe (FRA) EMIC Racing Team 23 pts
8. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 18 pts
9. Magnus Sederholm (FIN) Team Sweden 15 pts
9. Ali Bin Shaiban (UAE) Emirates Racing Team 15 pts
11. Paolo Longhi (ITA) Blaze Performance Team 13 pts