F1 Defending UIM Teams' World Champions Team Abu Dhabi begin title defence in Dubai


Grand Prix of Dubai, March 2-4


· Former World Champion Alex Carella and Thani Al-Qamzi raring to go in Dubai opener
· Team Abu Dhabi’s Al-Mehairbi and Al-Qamzi set for UIM F-4S race challenges at DIMC

DUBAI (UAE): Wednesday, March 2: Team Abu Dhabi gets its international powerboat racing programme underway at the inaugural Grand Prix of Dubai, round one of the 2016 UIM F1 H20 World Championship, at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) in Mina Seyahi this week.

Arriving in the UAE’s second Emirate as the defending UIM Teams’ World Champions, Team Abu Dhabi lays trust in its potent pairing of Thani Al-Qamzi and former World Champion Alex Carella for a second season of F1 H20 races. Drivers will tackle Grand Prix in Dubai, France, Portugal, China, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, with the possibility of two additional races in Asia in the autumn.

This weekend marks the first time that Dubai has hosted a round of the prestigious UIM F1 H2O World Championship after a multi-year agreement was penned with championship promoters. The race has attracted a provisional 18 boats and drivers from 11 countries, including double World Champion Philippe Chiappe of France, the host club’s Victory Team duo of Nadir Bin Hendi and his American team-mate Shaun Torrente and flying Finn Sami Selio.

Team Abu Dhabi has been testing repeatedly at the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) in the close season and Al-Qamzi and Carella line up for registration and the first practice sessions today (Wednesday) full of confidence for the coming season and the weekend ahead.

“We have been testing almost every day over the last few weeks in Abu Dhabi to make sure that everything is perfect for the start of the season,” said Carella, who has a new boat for the race and will be chasing a 12th career win. “We have really improved a lot and Thani and I are really positive for the new season. This year I think we are in a much stronger position. The boat is ready and the engine is perfect. We know it will not be easy. Our rivals will be the same. Sami Selio is always very fast, Philippe is the champion and Shaun is very quick. But, as a team, I feel we are the strongest one!”

In a dramatic finale to the 2015 season in Sharjah last December, Team Abu Dhabi clinched the Teams’ title for the first time and Carella finished second overall and confirmed the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ Championship behind Chiappe. Al-Qamzi will be taking part in his 27th race in the UAE and will be hoping to win at home for the first time since his success in Sharjah in 2012.

Two other Middle East teams will also be present at the opening race. Former Team Abu Dhabi driver Ahmed Al-Hameli and Swede Erik Stark drive for the Emirates Team and last December’s Sharjah race winner Marit Stromoy is entered by Team EMIC alongside last year’s F-4S champion Mike Szymura.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi and Rashed Al-Qamzi finished fourth and sixth in last year’s UIM F-4S Championship and the ADIMSC has entered a pair of boats for this weekend’s two 20-minute races at the DIMC. These races have been introduced to nurture your talent and run in conjunction with rounds of the UIM F1 H2O World 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). Team Abu Dhabi is managed by the multiple Italian World Champion Guido Cappellini and runs under the auspices of the ADIMSC and general manager Salem Al-Remeithi.

Free practice and time trials for the F-4S entrants in Dubai gets underway at 09.45hrs on Thursday morning (tomorrow) and precedes free practice for the F1 boats, starting at 10.45hrs. The first of the F-4S races fires into life at 14.00hrs and then the all-important qualification session takes centre stage from 15.30hrs.

Friday morning’s timetable sees a repeat of the F-4S practice and time trials sessions and free practice and the second of the F-4S races is scheduled for 14.00hrs. The inaugural Grand Prix of Dubai gets underway at the DIMC from 15.30hrs and shares the spotlight with the 24th Dubai International Boat Show.

- 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: 02/03/2016

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