F1 Team Abu Dhabi's Carella shadows Chiappe to finish second in inaugural Grand Prix of Dubai


Grand Prix of Dubai, March 2-4


· Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi produces sizzling drive to win UIM F-4S Trophy

DUBAI (UAE): Friday, March 4: Team Abu Dhabi’s former World Champion Alex Carella had no answer to the pace of defending World Champion Philippe Chiappe in the inaugural UIM F1 H20 Grand Prix of Dubai at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) on Friday afternoon.

Carella shadowed the Frenchman from the start to the finish to claim second place and a useful haul of UIM F1 H20 World Championship, but Chiappe earned his race win with an impressive pace over the opening laps. Even after Jesper Forss had spectacularly flipped out of the race with just over 20 laps remaining, the CTIC China Team driver was able to fend off another late Carella challenge to start the defence of his world title in perfect style with a victory by 1.75 seconds.

A frantic tussle developed between Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson and the local Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente for third place. The yellow flag situation enabled the American to pass Andersson to claim the final podium position. Chiappe’s CTIC China Team colleague Ziwei Xiong finished fifth and Duarte Benavente rounded off the top six.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi climbed from sixth to fourth on the opening lap and was running strongly in fourth until he was forced to withdraw with mechanical issues on the 12th lap.

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 team is managed by the multiple Italian World Champion Guido Cappellini and runs under the auspices of the ADIMSC and general manager Salem Al-Remeithi.

The race

Carella lined up on the start pontoon behind Chiappe and Al-Qamzi was well placed in sixth and breathing down the neck of Torrente for the 48-lap race.

The run out to the first turn buoy was into a strong wind, but it was a clean start and Chiappe began to edge clear of Carella Andersson and Al-Qamzi, who gained two places at the expense of Erik Stark and Torrente. Chiappe continued to edge away from his pursuers and the gap to Carella was 7.79 seconds after six laps. Al-Qamzi retained fourth behind Andersson.

The leaders began to catch traffic and overtake the back markers, but Chiappe and Carella continued to dominate at the front through lap nine. Stromoy was forced out with technical issues, but the boat was drifting off the side of the course and the green flag remained in situ.

By lap 14, Chiappe’s lead over Carella had grown to 13.01 seconds, but Al-Qamzi was forced to withdraw and lost his hold on fourth place. The Team Abu Dhabi driver’s demise lifted Torrente into fourth and Stark back up to fifth.

The leaders held station through the middle section of the race and Chiappe led Carella by 15.54 seconds, although the battle for third was heating up between Andersson and Torrente. Stark and Ivan Brigada were a distant fifth and sixth of the surviving 15 boats.

The yellow flag was raised soon afterwards when 22-year-old Swede Jesper Forss spectacularly barrel-rolled his Team Sweden boat out of the race and the delay bunched up the entire field. Racing resumed with 15 laps remaining and Torrente managed to squeeze passed Andersson to snatch third place, although Chiappe started lap 35 with a lead of 2.48 seconds over Carella.

But the Team Abu Dhabi driver continued to pressurise the leader and the margin was just 2.36 seconds with seven laps to run. But there was no denying the Frenchman victory on this occasion and he passed the chequered flag 1.75 seconds in front of Carella, with Torrente and Andersson in third and fourth. Stark pulled off the course and lost fifth place with five laps to run.

UIM F-4S Trophy victory for Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi

Despite his accident during the opening race on Thursday afternoon, Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi was able to continue on Friday and he and Rashed Al-Qamzi were in superb form from the start, the pair qualifying for the second of the 20-minute UIM F-4S races in pole and second positions. Team Sweden’s Kalle Viippo was third and race one winner Ferdinand Zandbergen was fourth of the 10 drivers.

This time it was Al-Qamzi, who was about to shine in the race, however, and the Emirati produced a superb drive to reach the chequered flag in first position, 3.72 seconds in front of Viippo and 10.75 seconds ahead of Zandbergen to claim overall victory in the weekend’s Trophy and his first ever race win.

Al-Mehairbi finished one lap behind in sixth place after a yellow-flag interrupted race and a penalty that cost him a potential third. Al-Qamzi’s success gave him the joint lead with Zandbergen in the championship.

“This was a fantastic performance by Rashed (Al-Qamzi) to claim the race win and both he and Mohammed were impressive in race qualifying as well,” said ADIMSC’s general manager Salem Al-Remeithi. “The win made up somewhat for the disappointment of missing out on the potential win on Thursday.”

All crews were permitted on to the water for free practice sessions on Friday morning and Team Abu Dhabi took full advantage to fine tune the race set-ups, with Carella running for 13 laps and clocking the second quickest time behind Marit Stromoy. Al-Qamzi was sixth of the 17 F1 boats that participated.

2016 Grand Prix of Dubai – result:
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 48 laps
2. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi @1.75sec
3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team @8.69sec
4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden @16.42sec
5. Ziwei Xiong (CHN) CTIC China Team L1
6. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team L1
7. Ivan Brigada (ITA) Emirates Racing Team L1
8. Francesco Cantando (ITA)Blaze Performance Team L2
9. Filip Roms (FIN) Baba Racing L2
10. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Blaze Performance Team L3
11. Nadir Bin Hendi (ARE) Victory Team L3

2016 UIM F1H2O World Championship – Drivers’ Championship standings:
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 20 pts
2. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi 15 pts
3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 12 pts
4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 9 pts
5. Ziwei Xiong (CHN) CTIC China Team 7 pts
6. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 5 pts
7. Ivan Brigada (ITA) Emirates Racing Team 4 pts
8. Francesco Cantando (ITA)Blaze Performance Team 3 pts
9. Filip Roms (FIN) Baba Racing 2 pts
10. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Blaze Performance Team 1 pt

2016 UIM F-4S Trophy – positions after race 2:
1. Rashed Al-Qamzi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 32 pts
1. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NLD) Baba Racing 32 pts
3. Kalle Viippo (FIN) Team Sweden 30 pts
4. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team 18 pts
5. Mohamed Al-Yamahi (ARE) Victory Team 14 pts
6. Ali Bin Shaiban (ARE) Emirates Racing Team 8 pts
7. Tom Chiappe (FRA) EMIC Racing Team 7 pts
8. Paolo Longhi (ITA) Blaze Performance Team 6 pts
9. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 5 pts
Jeremy Brisset (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team 0 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: 04/03/2016

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