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F1 Team Abu Dhabi's Al-Qamzi shadows Chiappe to finish of Grand Prix of China

MEDIA INFORMATION

2015 UIM F1 H2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of China, September 30-October 2

TEAM ABU DHABI’S THANI AL-QAMZI SHADOWS DOMINANT
PHILIPPE CHIAPPE TO FINISH SECOND IN GRAND PRIX OF CHINA

Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella sidelined with technical issues after four laps
Jump start penalty costs Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qemzi F-4S race win; Mike Szymura benefits to claim win

LIUZHOU (CHINA): Friday, October 2: Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi maintained his composure and drove superbly to finish second overall behind the defending World Champion Philippe Chiappe at the Grand Prix of China, round four of the 2015 UIM F1 H2O World Championship, on the Lui River on Friday.

The leading duo controlled the race from the green flag and were never headed. Chiappe led from start-to-finish and moved into an unofficial 12-point outright lead of the World Championship with a seven-second win, as Al-Qamzi fended off a persistent challenge from Finland’s Sami Selio to maintain second place and claim 15 valuable championship points.

“This was a long race and my strategy worked perfectly,” said Al-Qamzi. “I managed to stay ahead of Sami and shadow Philippe to the finish and that keeps Team Abu Dhabi in the hunt for the Teams’ Championship.”

Kuwait’s Yousef Al-Rubayan stayed ahead of the Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente to claim fourth and Norwegian Marit Stromoy rounded off the top six. Team Abu Dhabi’s second driver Alex Carella had won the last three races in Luizhou and started this race from eighth. The Italian made a charge from the outset and was holding sixth when he was sidelined with mechanical issues on lap five.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qemzi qualified on pole for the second F-4S Trophy race of the weekend and looked set to have recovered superbly from Thursday’s crash when he reached the finish in first position. But the Emirati was deemed to have jump started – as he had done in Portugal in the summer - and was awarded a one-lap penalty that deprived him of the win.

Germany’s Mike Szymura was the main beneficiary and duly recorded his fourth win of the season from four starts. Al-Qemzi’s team-mate Mohammed Al-Mehairbi finished an impressive third and moved up to second when Al-Qemzi’s penalty was awarded.

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).

GP of China

The decision was taken not to run Q3 on Friday morning and qualifying times duly stood at the end of the Q2 session on Thursday afternoon, with Philippe Chiappe handed pole position and Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi given second spot. Yousef Al-Rubayan had been third quickest in Q2 and started the race in third, with Sami Selio, Jonas Andersson and Duarte Benavente rounding off the top six.

Carella moved up to eighth and series leader Shaun Torrente was ninth, but a bruised Erik Stark was forced to sit out the race after his crash on Thursday and vowed to be ready for the final two races in the UAE in December. The Victory Team’s Nadir bin Hendi also missed out on the start.

Forty-five laps lay ahead of the surviving 16 drivers in much more favourable weather conditions on the Lui River. Carella needed a good start if he was to keep his title hopes alive and move into contention for a fourth successive Chinese win on the two-kilometre course. The nature of the start meant that the top group held station, although Chiappe surged away from Al-Qamzi and Al-Rubayan. Carella maintained eighth.

Selio managed to pass Al-Rubayan to snatch third on the second lap and Carella overtook Duarte Benavente and climbed to sixth. But Chiappe was on a charge and had gained 7.77 seconds on Al-Qamzi by the start of lap four, as Carella ground to a halt on the side of the course with mechanical issues and his dream of another world title wilted on the Lui River.

By the end of lap 13, Chiappe led Al-Qamzi by 5.96 seconds, with Selio in third and Al-Rubayan, Torrente and Andersson completing the top six. But Al-Qamzi began to close in on Chiappe and the gap was down to 4.61 seconds through lap 16. Both Ahmed Al-Hameli and Francesco Cantando had already been sidelined. Chiappe’s lead over Al-Qamzi climbed to 8.09 seconds after 22 laps, as the 13 surviving boats headed into the second half of the race.

A fascinating game of cat and mouse developed between Al-Qamzi and Selio, who were running in second and third behind Chiappe. Just 2.4 seconds separated the pair after 29 laps and the gap was just 1.24 seconds after 30 tours of the circuit.

At three-quarter race distance, Chiappe’s overall lead over Al-Qamzi had grown to 13.74 seconds and the Frenchman maintained his impressive pace through the closing laps to record outright victory by the margin of seven seconds. Torrente was given a drive through penalty for missing a turn buoy, but decided not to take the penalty and unofficially finished the race over a lap in front of sixth-placed Stromoy in any case.

F-4S race 2

Rashed Al-Qemzi and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi represented Team Abu Dhabi in the second of the weekend’s F-4S races and Al-Qamzi was hoping for better luck after his spectacular crash at the start of race one. The Emirati earned pole position again with a best qualifying lap of 47.30sec and lined up for the 20-minute race ahead of Al-Mehairbi and Ferdinand Zanderbergen. Series leader Mike Szymura was down in fifth of the nine starters.

But Al-Qemzi’s cruel luck continued into the second race. He reached the chequered flag in first position to record the best finish of his career and was then awarded a one-lap penalty for a ump start. That enabled Szymura to record his second win of the weekend and continue his 100% start to the season with four wins from four races.

Zandbergen slowed on lap 10 and dropped down the order and that enabled an ever-improving Al-Mehairbi to move up to third and then into second when his team-mate’s penalty was awarded. A yellow flag was raised five laps from the end of the 22-lap race when Motorglass driver Christian Cesati flipped his boat.

2015 Grand Prix of China – race result (unofficial @ 11.10hrs UAE):
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 45 laps
2. Thani Al-Qamzi (ARE) Team Abu Dhabi @ 7.0sec
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team @ 11.46sec
4. Youssef Al-Rubayan (KUW) F1 GC Atlantic Team @ 25.73sec
5. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team @ 30.57sec
6. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team EMIC L1
7. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden L1
8. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 GC Atlantic Team L1
9. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Sweden L1
10. Ziwei Ziong (CHN) CTIC China Team L2
11. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team L2

2015 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – after round 4 (unofficial):
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team 55 pts
2. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 43 pts
3. Youssef Al-Rubayan (KUW) F1 GC Atlantic Team 36 pts
4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 28 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 11 pts
11. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Motorglass F1 Team 9 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) Qatar 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 – standings after race 4:
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.

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Date issued: 02/10/2015

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