F1 Team Abu Dhabi's Carella salvages fourth from disappointing Portuguese race



16th Grand Prix of Portugal – April 21-23


· Engine issues sideline Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi; defending champion Chiappe wins

PORTIMAO (PORTUGAL): Sunday, April 23: Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella salvaged fourth position from a disappointing 16th Grand Prix of Portugal on the Arade river in Portimao, on Sunday.

Team-mates Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi suffered engine issues and were unable to challenge for honours on an opening round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship that was won by the French three-time champion Philippe Chiappe after pole position winner Shaun Torrente lost his lead early on and retired on lap 10.

Finland’s double World Champion Sami Selio began his 2017 racing campaign with second position and Duarte Benavente claimed a memorable podium finish on his home race. Poland’s Bartek Marszalak finished behind Carella who also moved ahead of Germany’s Mike Szymura on the last two laps when the German was disqualified.

Carella had qualified in fifth position and eventually began the race in 15th, while Thani Al-Qemzi lined up in 17t positions for the 50-lap race on the seven-pin 1.937km saltwater course after engine issues plagued their progress in a session that was won by the American driver Shaun Torrente from Ahmed Al-Hameli and Erik Stark, with Chiappe in fourth.

After losing the whole of Saturday because of gale force winds, H2O racing officials had to cram an entire weekend of racing into one day’s timetable on the Arade River. BRM qualifying was moved to the morning and the 16th Grand Prix of Portugal slotted into a revised schedule that was again weather dependent.

Nineteen drivers and nine teams entered the opening round of the world’s most prestigious tunnel boat racing series.

Etihad Airways is the official carrier for Team Abu Dhabi that is also supported by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council 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 and under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, Vice-President and CEO of the ADIMSC. The racing team runs under the auspices of the ADIMSC and board member and general manager Salem Al-Remeithi and team manager Guido Cappellini.

2017 Grand Prix of Portugal – race result
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 50 laps
2. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing @12.88sec
3. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team L1
4. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi L1
5. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Blaze Performance Team L1
6. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 L2
7. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team L2
8. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Sweden RET

2017 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – positions after round 1
1. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 20pts
2. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 15pts
3. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Sweden 12pts
4. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 9pts
5. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 7pts
6. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts

- 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: 23/04/2017

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