F1 Must-win home showdown for Carella and Al-Qamzi in Abu Dhabi


24th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, December 9-11


Frenchman Philippe Chiappe heads American Shaun Torrente before back-to-back UAE races
Team Abu Dhabi to be represented by Rashed Al-Qamzi and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi in F-4S races

ABU DHABI (UAE): Tuesday, December 1: Team Abu Dhabi is currently enjoying its most successful season in history but, if either Thani Al-Qamzi or Alex Carella are going to add the UIM F1 H2O World Championship to the 2015 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship crown and the runners-up spot in the 2015 UIM XCAT World Series, one of them will need to claim outright victory in next Friday’s crucial 24th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.

The series was reduced from eight to six rounds with the cancellation of races in Shanghai and Pattaya and that means the last two rounds of the shortened championship will take place in Abu Dhabi on Friday and along the coast in Sharjah the following weekend. Al-Qamzi and Carella have been testing in earnest at the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) in recent weeks to give themselves the best chance of securing a win, but success on home waters could still see the Emirati and his Italian team-mate fall short of their goal.

Al-Qamzi maintained his composure to seal a stunning second position at the last race on China’s Lui River, but he heads into this weekend’s race lying sixth in the championship standings, a point ahead of Carella but, more importantly, 35 shy of the series leader and defending champion, Philippe Chiappe, who won in Abu Dhabi last year.

The Frenchman’s clinical performance in China sees him arrive in the UAE with a 16-point advantage over the Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente. Kuwait’s Youssef Al-Rubayan is third, a further three points behind. With 20 points on offer to the race winner, another success for Chiappe would give him a second world title, regardless of what happens behind him on the Abu Dhabi course that has hosted a round of the F1 series more times than any other venue in history since 1993.

“We carried out a good test before the XCAT racing with Alex (Carella) and Thani (Al-Qamzi) at different times at the ADIMSC and the plan was more testing in the build up to this race,” said Team Abu Dhabi’s racing manager and nine-time former World Champion Guido Cappellini. “We are very happy with the performances. Thani has really come on to another level. The target is obviously the outright win. We must do that, but there will be 19 or 20 other drivers pushing for the same goal. Realistically, we know we need to win in Abu Dhabi to give ourselves a chance of the title in Sharjah.”

Carella is focused and determined to give himself a chance of snatching a fourth world title in five years on his 33rd Grand Prix outing. “The testing has been fantastic,” said the Italian, who has three previous wins to his name in Abu Dhabi. “We have found a little extra and that should help us be even more competitive. China was normally a lucky place for me to go and score points, but the non-finish was a bitter setback especially after we lost the points in France. I know that it’s a must win race here and what better place to do it than at home in front of our fans.”

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).

Rashed Al-Qamzi and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi represented Team Abu Dhabi in the UIM F-4S Trophy races in China and impressed with their performances. Al-Qamzi, in particular, was in fine form, although two pole positions were marred by a crash in race one and a one-lap penalty in the second race that deprived him of a first ever victory.

That set-back has given Germany’s Mike Szymura the perfect opportunity to wrap up the championship in Abu Dhabi. The F1 GC Atlantic Team driver heads to the ADIMSC with a lead of 27 points in the points’ standings and knows that a couple of podium finishes should be sufficient to clinch the title before the final race in Sharjah. He has taken four wins from four race starts this season so far.

Teams will be permitted to carry out a couple of hours of free practice on Wednesday afternoon (December 9) after registration and technical scrutineering.

But the meat of the on-course action starts on Thursday morning. F-4S free practice and time trials start at 09.10hrs and will be followed by free practice for the F1 protagonists from 10.15hrs. The first of the weekend’s two F-4S races fires into life at 14.00hrs and is followed by the crucial F1 qualifying from 15.30hrs.

Further F-4S free practice, time trials and F1 practice are on the agenda for Friday morning at similar times and precede the second of the 20-minute F-4S races, starting at 14.00hrs. The 24th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi takes centre stage from 15.30hrs on Friday.

2015 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – after round 4:
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 55 pts
2. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 39 pts
3. Youssef Al-Rubayan (KUW) F1 GC Atlantic Team 36 pts
4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 29 pts
5. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Nautica 27 pts
6. Thani Al-Qamzi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 20 pts
7. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 19 pts
7. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi 19 pts
7. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 19 pts
10. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica 13 pts, etc

2015 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – after round 4:
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 70 pts
2. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 43 pts
3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Victory Team 36 pts
3. Youssef Al-Rubayan (KUW) F1 GC Atlantic Team 36 pts
5. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi 24 pts
6. Thani Al-Qamzi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 20 pts
7. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Nautica 14 pts
8. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 12 pts
8. Ahmed Al-Hameli (ARE) Emirates Team 12 pts
10. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 GC Atlantic Team 5 pts

2015 UIM F-4S Trophy – current standings:
1. Mike Szymura (DEU) F1 GC Atlantic Team 80 pts
2. Joakhim Halvorsen (NOR) Team EMIC 44 pts
3. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC China Team 30 pts
4. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 27 pts
4. Christian Cesati (ITA) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 27 pts
6. Briney Rigby (AUS) Team Sweden 24 pts
7. Rashed Al-Qemzi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 20 pts
8. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NED) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 15 pts
9. Ronny Mathys (SUI) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 14 pts
10. Mansoor Al-Mansoori (ARE) Emirates Team 12 pts
11. Rashed Al-Remeithi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi 6 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: 01/12/2015

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