F1 Team Abu Dhabi claims Teams' title as Marit Stromoy wins in Sharjah


Grand Prix of Sharjah, December 16-18


Team Abu Dhabi’s Al-Mehairbi and Al-Qamzi finish fourth and sixth in F-4S race; fourth successive win for Nyholm

SHARJAH (UAE): Friday, December 18: Alex Carella and Thani Al-Qamzi joined forces to take Team Abu Dhabi to the UIM F1 H20 World Championship Teams’ title for the first time, as the EMIC Team’s Marit Stromoy confirmed a stunning victory in the Grand Prix of Sharjah on Friday afternoon.

Carella rounded off Team Abu Dhabi’s most successful ever season with second place in the season’s traditional finale, as his partnership with Thani-Al Qamzi brought the F1H20 World Championship teams’ title to the UAE capital for the first time. Carella’s result on Khaled Lagoon also confirmed his runner-up spot in the Drivers’ Championship, just eight days after he found success on home waters.

With Thani Al-Qamzi retiring from sixth place after 30 laps, the combination of the Emirati and the Italian three-time world champion saw them top the teams championship standings by 17 points from CTIC China’s Philippe Chiappe and Ziwei Xiong, who both retired in Sharjah. It was Team Abu Dhabi’s second world championship success of the season after Gary Ballough and John Tomlinson delivered the first ever UIM Class 1 crown to Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club last month.

Engine issues cost current World Champion Philippe Chiappe his early lead and the EMIC Team’s Marit Stromoy took up the reins at the front of the field and managed to hold off a fierce challenge from Carella to confirm her first ever Grand Prix victory. The winning margin for the Norwegian was a mere 4.70 seconds after a stunning drive into the history books where she became the first woman ever to win a motor sport event at the highest level.

Forty-three laps around the 2.2km Khaled Lagoon course lay ahead for 18 drivers from 12 nations. Carella and Al-Qamzi lined up in fifth and seventh positions and needed a good start if they were to stay ahead of the CTIC China duo of Chiappe and Ziwei Xiong in the Teams’ Championship standings.

Chiappe made the best start and passed pole-sitter Erik Stark to snatch the early lead from Marit Stromoy, Carella, Stark, Torrente and Selio. Al-Qamzi slipped to eighth before moving back to seventh, as Chiappe gradually pulled away from the chasing pack. The Frenchman extended his advantage to 5.91 seconds through lap five, but Ziwei Ziong had already fallen by the wayside for the CTIC China Team and Filip Roms was forced to run a one-lap drive-through penalty and slipped to the foot of the leader board.

The leading seven drivers held station through 10 laps, although a furious battle was waging between Stark and Torrente for fourth place and it continued for several laps with the American shadowing the Swede at high speed around the turn buoys. The procession continued into lap 16 of 43, but Stromoy reduced Chiappe’s lead to 2.88 seconds as the Frenchman struggled with power issues and was overtaken by the Norwegian lady on lap 17.

The current World Champion’s demise promoted Carella to second, Al-Qamzi to sixth and gifted the UIM Teams’ title to Team Abu Dhabi with 25 laps of the race remaining. Stromoy continued to stay ahead of Carella and she reached the halfway point with a lead of 2.32 seconds over the three-time former World Champion.

Stromoy maintained her composure and remained on course for a first ever Grand Prix win through lap 25, although Carella was breathing down her neck in second and Stark was a close third. Andersson managed to pass Al-Qamzi on lap 30 to take sixth and the Emirati was forced to withdraw from the race. Portugal’s Duarte Benavente also retired and his demise promoted Nadir Bin Hendi into the top 10.

The Norwegian held her nerve over the closing stages to secure a first Grand Prix win for a woman in F1 history and Carella’s second place was sufficient for the Italian to confirm the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ Championship. Torrente passed Stark in the dying seconds to claim third place.

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’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi and Rashed Al-Qamzi lined up at the start of the second of the weekend’s F-4S races in second and third on the pontoon behind race one winner Anton Nyholm. Nine boats qualified for race two but series winner Mike Szymura was down in eighth position for the start of the 18-lap tussle.

After his opening lap flip and eventual disqualification from winning race one, it was imperative that Al-Mehairbi began well from the green lights. But the Team Abu Dhabi duo made poor starts and slipped to fourth and seventh after lap one, as Nyholm maintained the upper hand from Szymura and Ferdinand Zandbergen and Joakim Halvorsen failed to start. The group of eight racers maintained their positions through lap five, although Nyholm extended his lead to 8.70 seconds.

By the halfway point, Nyholm led Szymura by 11.28 seconds, Zandbergen maintained third and the Team Abu Dhabi were following in a close fourth and seventh. The leading Finn stayed out of trouble over the closing laps to record his fourth successive victory in the space of eight days since he burst on to the F-4S racing scene. The success also earned the Team Sweden driver the runner-up spot in the championship behind Szymura. Al-Mehairbi and Al-Qamzi passed the chequered flag in fourth and sixth to draw a curtain on their impressive season of F-4S racing.

Marit Stromoy was the quickest of the 17 F1 drivers who took to the water during Friday morning’s official practice session. The Norwegian ran for 18 laps and posted a best tour of 47.46sec. Al-Qamzi and Carella ran for 12 and 11 laps respectively to work on their boat set-ups for the race.

2015 Grand Prix of Sharjah – result:
1. Marit Stromoy (NOR) EMIC Team 43 laps
2. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi @ 4.70sec
3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Victory Team @ 12.73 sec
4. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Team @ 16.50 sec
5. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team @ 18.34 sec
6. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden @ 50.21 sec
7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (ARE) Emirates Team L1
8. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Sweden L1

2015 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – final standings (provisional):
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 70 pts
2. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi 54 pts
3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 51 pts
4. Yousef Al-Rubayan (KUW) F1 GC Atlantic Team 38 pts
4. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 38 pts
6. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Nautica 36 pts
7. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 35 pts
8. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 34 pts
9. Thani Al-Qamzi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 32 pts
10. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 19 pts

2015 UIM F1 H2O Teams’ Championship – final standings (provisional):
1. Team Abu Dhabi 88 pts
2. CTIC China Team 71 pts
3. Team EMIC 56 pts
4. Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 54 pts
5. F1 GC Atlantic Team 47 pts
6. Team Sweden 44 pts
7. Emirates Team 36 pts
8. Victory Team 33 pts

2015 UIM F-4S Trophy – final standings:
1. Mike Szymura (DEU) F1 GC Atlantic Team 124 pts
2. Anton Nyholm (FIN) Team Sweden 80 pts
3. Joakhim Halvorsen (NOR) Team EMIC 63 pts
4. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 60 pts
5. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NED) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 55 pts
6. Rashed Al-Qemzi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 47 pts
7. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC China Team 38 pts
7. Mansoor Al-Mansoori (ARE) Emirates Team 38 pts, etc

- 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: 18/12/2015

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