F1 Team Abu Dhabi's Carella edged out of pole position by Al-Hameli and Chiappe in Liuzhou


Grand Prix of Liuzhou, China – October 1-3


· Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi extends F4-S series lead to 31 points; Brisset wins F4-S race

LIUZHOU (CHINA): Sunday, October 2: Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella put his Harbin setback firmly behind him by qualifying in third position for Monday’s Grand Prix of Liuzhou, round five of the 2016 UIM F1 H2O World Championship, on the Liu River in China.

Four of the six fastest drivers in BRM Qualifying had taken pole position in Liuzhou before and 2/100ths of a second separated the top three drivers in a thrilling Q3 shoot-out, with Ahmed Al-Hameli of the Emirates Racing Team claiming pole position by 1/100th of a second from Philippe Chiappe.

Double World Champion and series leader Chiappe claimed pole position last year and the Frenchman equalled Al-Hameli’s time of 46.05 seconds, but Al-Hameli’s time was rounded down to 46.04 seconds by race officials and the Emirati claimed a third Liuzhou pole to add to his two successes in 2010 and 2011. Chiappe’s second place reduced Carella’s lead in the UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship to 12 points.

Carella claimed pole in Liuzhou three times in a row between 2012 and 2014, but the Team Abu Dhabi driver missed out by just 2/100th of a second on this occasion with a lap of 46.06 seconds.

Finland’s Sami Selio claimed pole on the Lui River in 2008 and 2009 and a lap of 46.17 seconds was sufficient for the Mad Croc Baba Racing driver to earn fourth position. Erik Stark of the Emirates Racing Team and Shaun Torrente of the Victory Team were fifth and sixth.

Thani Al-Qamzi was plagued by engine issues in the morning’s free practice session and the second Team Abu Dhabi driver was eventually eliminated in the second of the three BRM Qualifying sessions and will start Monday’s race from eighth position.

Rashed Al-Qamzi shadowed Frenchman Jeremy Brisset of the F1 Atlantic Team to the finish of the first 16-lap F4-S race and duly extended his championship lead over Ferdinand Zandbergen to 31 points. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi finished third and rounded off the podium in the second Team Abu Dhabi boat. Al-Qamzi’s second place was his impressive seventh successive top three finish in the F4-S races so far this season.

“That was one of the closest pole position qualifying sessions for a long time and it puts Alex in a strong position for the start of the race on Monday,” said Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC). “Rashed Al-Qamzi again showed his consistency and another podium finish enabled him to extend his lead in the F4-S 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.

BRM Qualifying

Sunday afternoon’s BRM Qualifying on the 2.02km, six-pin course on the Liu River was split into three sessions with the slowest six of the 18 entrants eliminated in the first 20-minute session. Carella put in a time of 46.61 seconds in the first three minutes to try and put himself into Q2 early on, but Al-Qamzi was down in ninth at the mid point of the session with a lap of 48.43 seconds and needed to keep an eye on his rivals running behind to ensure it made it into the top 12.

Nadir Bin Hendi, Filip Roms, Francesco Cantando, Christophe Larigot, Jesper Forss and Jonas Andersson were eventually eliminated, with engine issues preventing Andersson doing more than a handful of laps at the end of the session. Bartek Marszalak clipped a turn buoy and was duly penalised and that enabled Larigot to reach Q2.

Carella’s strategy of setting a fast early lap worked again in Q2 and the Team Abu Dhabi driver clocked a 46.72 second tour to all but seal his place in the Q3 shoot-out. Mike Szymura, Duarte Benavente, Larigot, Ziwei Xiong, Al-Qamzi and Marit Stromoy were eliminated, as Erik Stark won the session with a lap of 46.63 seconds and Carella tied with Ahmed Al-Hameli in third place.

Torrente was first on to the water for the six-boat shoot-out to determine pole position. The Victory Team driver posted an opener of 48.14 seconds and improved with a cleaner lap of 46.81 seconds to set the target. Selio opened with a lap of 46.33 seconds and ran even faster with a 46.17 second lap.

Al-Hameli was next on to the water and the two-time Liuzhou pole winner carded an opener of 46.37 seconds, but a stunning second lap of 46.05 seconds displaced Selio and gave the Emirati provisional pole. Carella opened up with a 46.34-second tour but missed out on provisional pole on his second lap by just 1/100th of a second.

Chiappe knew the importance of pole position on this demanding course and the Frenchman opened his account with a lap of 46.05 seconds to equal Al-Hameli’s time, but he could not go faster on his second lap. Stark carded a first lap of 46.34 seconds and was not able to move up on his second tour of the circuit and the Swede had to be content with fifth place. Al-Hameli’s time was later rounded down to 46.04 seconds and he was given pole position.

Earlier in the day Carella had pipped Torrente to the fastest lap in the free practice session by just 2/100ths of second with a lap of 45.69 seconds. The Italian ran for 20 laps. Al-Qamzi’s session was cut short by engine issues, but the second Team Abu Dhabi driver carded the 13th quickest lap of 48.47 seconds.

F4-S race one

Rashed Al-Qamzi and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi qualified in second and third places for the first of the two UIM F$-S races behind Jeremy Brisset of the F1 Atlantic Team. The Frenchman clocked a time of 1min 10.46sec to claim pole position by 0.08 seconds from the series leading Al-Qamzi. Only six of the eight entrants carded a qualifying time: Paolo Longhi did not make the start of the session and Mohamed Al-Yamahi of the Victory Team was disqualified.

The race took place over 16 laps and Brisset led from Al-Qamzi and Al-Mehairbi through the opening encounters and built up a lead of 4.29 seconds by the seventh lap. The gap was 5.1 seconds with six laps to go as the top three continued to edge away from fourth-placed Zandbergen.

There was no stopping Brisset taking the winner’s spoils for the second time this year by the margin of 8.46 seconds, but second place for Al-Qamzi enabled the Emirati to extend his UIM F4-S series lead over Zandbergen to a commanding 31 points. Al-Mehairbi climbed the points’ tables with the final place on the podium.

Further time trials and the second of the F4-S races are scheduled for 09.00hrs and 11.10hrs on Monday and the 2016 Grand Prix of Liuzhou fires into life at 15.00hrs (11.00hrs UAE time).

2016 Grand Prix of Liuzhou – BRM Qualifying result:
1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Emirates Racing Team 46.04sec
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzen China Team 46.05sec
3. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 46.06sec
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing 46.17sec
5. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Racing Team 46.34sec
6. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 46.81sec
8. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 47.84sec

2016 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – current standings:
1. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 68 pts
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzen China Team 56 pts
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing 49 pts
4. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Racing Team 43 pts
5. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 34 pts
6. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Emirates Racing Team 32 pts
7. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 29 pts
8. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing 15 pts
9. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 14 pts

2016 UIM F4-S Trophy – latest positions:
1. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 106 pts
2. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NLD) Baba Racing 75 pts
3. Kalle Viippo (FIN) Team Sweden 62 pts
3. Jeremy Brisset (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team 62 pts
5. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC F1 Shenzen China Team 46 pts
6. Mohamed Al-Yamahi (UAE) Victory Team 43 pts
7. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 35 pts
7. Magnus Sederholm (FIN) Team Sweden 35 pts
9. Tom Chiappe (FRA) EMIC Racing Team 32 pts
10. Paolo Longhi (ITA) Blaze Performance Team 16 pts
11. Ali Bin Shaiban (UAE) Emirates Racing Team 15 pts
- Ends -

For further media information and information about Team Abu Dhabi:
Please contact: Khalid Al Saadi, Media Incharge, Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, P.O. Box 45656, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Mobile Telephone: + 971 50 768 6761, E-mail: alsaadi@adimsc.ae.


Date issued: 02/10/2016

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