Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi extends F4-S series lead to 25 points with third place in race two

HARBIN (CHINA): Sunday, September 4:  Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella was involved in a high-speed crash on lap 24 of Sunday’s Grand Prix of Harbin and was unable to extend his lead in the UIM F1 H2O World Championship at the Hulan Estuary Wetland Park course in north-eastern China.

 The Italian collided with Baba’s Racing’s Filip Roms, while both drivers were duelling for second position in the 60-lap race, and their demise opened the door for pole position winner Sami Selio of Finland to take his first win of the season. Carella was taken to a local hospital for checks and medical attention. Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson maintained second place after the restart and held it to the finish, while defending World Champion Philippe Chiappe rounded off the podium and moved 10 points ahead of Carella in the UIM F1 H2O Drivers’ Championship standings. 

 Shaun Torrente of Dubai’s Victory Team reached the chequered flag in fourth place to move into second position and three points in front of Carella in the rankings, as Team Abu Dhabi slipped behind Baba Racing and Victory Team and into fourth in the UIM Teams’ Championship that is led by the CTIC China Team. 

 Thani Al-Qamzi ran a subdued race by his standards in the second of the Team Abu Dhabi DACs and reached the chequered flag in 10thposition, although he was later disqualified for not running in his designated lane at the start of the race. 

 Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi finished the second of the weekend’s UIM F$-S races in third and sixth place and that was sufficient for Al-Qamzi to leave Harbin with an impressive lead of 25 points in the championship standings. Team Sweden’s Magnus Sederholm avenged his defeat in the first of the Harbin races to the F1 Atlantic Team’s Jeremy Brisset to claim his first maximum points haul in race two. 

 “Rashed put in another impressive and consistent performance that places him in a really strong position in the UIM F4-S championship with six races to go in China and the UAE,” said Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC).  “It was a disappointing set back for Alex, but that is racing and these things can and do happen. We will regroup now and focus on the last three rounds of the championship.”

 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 Salem Al-Remeithi. 

 GP of Harbin 

 Carella and Al-Qamzi lined up for the start of the 60-lap race in fourth and ninth positions, although Selio, Roms and Andersson had the advantage of heading the Italian towards the first turn buoy. Title challenger Shaun Torrente endured a disappointing qualifying session to finish eighth in his Victory Team hull, but things went from bad to worse for the American, when he was forced to change his engine after the morning’s practice session and that dropped him to 16th at the start, two places behind defending World Champion Philippe Chiappe. Nadir bin Hendi was forced to sit out the race after Saturday’s BRM qualifying crash. 

 With his rivals a long way behind because of their respective engine and electrical gremlins and likely to face traffic at the start, it was imperative that Carella made a clean getaway after the green lights. Selio made an excellent start from pole position and retained his lead from Roms and Andersson, with Carella maintaining fourth through lap one, as Al-Qamzi moved up to seventh and Chiappe and Torrente stormed through to eighth and ninth positions. 

 Carella forced his way passed Andersson to snatch third on lap two and Chiappe overtook Al-Qamzi and climbed to seventh. He was soon followed through by Torrente, as Carella’s rivals for the title held seventh and eighth behind Selio, Roms, Carella, Andersson, Erik Stark and Ahmed Al-Hameli. Chiappe passed Al-Hameli heading into lap eight to take sixth, but Torrente became embroiled in a fascinating tussle with the Emirati for his seventh place, as the leaders continued to pull away and Selio held a 4.08-second lead over Roms after 11 laps. 

 The American sneaked passed Al-Hameli into seventh, when the Emirates Racing Team driver almost blew over turning into a straight, but Selio maintained his lead at quarter distance. Twelve seconds separated the top seven on lap 20, but the race was yellow flagged on lap 24 after a high speed crash between Carella and Roms, when the two collided at a turn buoy and Roms’s Baba barrel-rolled over Carella’s DAC, badly damaging both boats, hospitalising the drivers and forcing both out of the race.

 Once the damaged hulls had been removed from the course, racing resumed on lap 38 of 60 and Selio retained his lead. Chiappe found a way past Stark to snatch third place and Torrente followed him through and into fourth on the next lap, as Al-Qamzi slipped to 10th in the second Team Abu Dhabi boat. 

 With 10 laps to run, Selio led by 2.85 seconds from Andersson, Chiappe, Torrente, Stark and Al-Hameli. The Finn managed to hold on through the closing tours to record his first win of the season and leap into contention for a third world title after the race was yellow flagged again with two laps to go when Ahmed Al-Hameli flipped at speed on the back straight. Chiappe and Torrente benefited from Carella’s unfortunate demise to storm through into first and second in the title race heading to the final three races of the season, as the race finished under the second yellow flag and Al-Qamzi was later disqualified for a course  violation.

 UIM F4-S Trophy – race 2

 Jeremy Brisset and Magnus Sederholm continued on Sunday morning where hey left off on Saturday and claimed first and second places on the pontoon for the start of the second of the weekend’s UIM F4-S races. Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi qualified for the 20-minute race in third and sixth of the nine entrants.

 But fortunes were reversed for the leading duo in the second race and Sederholm claimed his first F4-S victory by stealing a march on Brisset to reach the chequered flag 11.6 seconds ahead of the Frenchman. Al-Qamzi produced another consistent performance to complete the podium places with third and further strengthen his claim to this year’s UIM F4-S title. Al-Mehairbi reached the finish in sixth place behind Mohamed Al-Yamahi and Ferdinand Zandbergen. 

Andersson and Al-Hameli topped the times in Sunday morning’s second free practice session with best laps of 37.00 and 37.05 seconds. Carella and Al-Qamzi ran for 16 and eight laps to finalise their race set-ups and only Nadir bin Hendi missed the session after his crash the previous day in Q1 qualifying. 

 2016 Grand Prix of Harbin – result:

1. Sami Selio (FIN) Baba Racing                                                                                   60 laps

2. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden                                                               @1.12sec

3. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team                                                     @1.64sec

4. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team                                                                     @2.36sec

5. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Racing Team                                                      @4.56sec

6. Marit Stromoy (NOR) EMIC Racing Team                                                     @7.95sec

7. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team                                                     @8.97sec

8. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Blaze Performance Team                                     @14.98sec

9. Ziwei Xiong (CHN) CTIC China Team                                                                        L1

10. Mike Szymura (GER) EMIC Racing Team                                                     L2

 2016 UIM F1H2O World Championship – Drivers’ Championship standings:

1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team                                     52 pts

2. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team                                                     45 pts

3. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                                    42 pts

4. Sami Selio (FIN) Baba Racing                                                                   35 pts

5. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden                                               33 pts

6. Filip Roms (FIN) Baba Racing                                                                   17 pts

7. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team                                     16 pts

8. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Racing Team                                      12 pts, etc

 2016 UIM F4-S Trophy – latest positions:

1. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                    91 pts

2. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NLD) Baba Racing                                  66 pts

3. Kalle Viippo (FIN) Team Sweden                                                               62 pts

4. Jeremy Brisset (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team                                                   42 pts

5. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team                                     39 pts

5. Mohamed Al-Yamahi (UAE) Victory Team                                    39 pts

7. Magnus Sederholm (FIN) Team Sweden                                               35 pts

8. Tom Chiappe (FRA) EMIC Racing Team                                                27 pts

9. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                      23 pts

10. Paolo Longhi (ITA) Blaze Performance Team                                    16 pts

11. Ali Bin Shaiban (UAE) Emirates Racing Team                                      15 pts