F1 Team Abu Dhabi's Carella set for Sharjah showdown after Chiappe wins in Abu Dhabi
2017 UIM F1 H2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
25th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, UAE – December 6-8
TEAM ABU DHABI’S CARELLA SET FOR SHARJAH SHOWDOWN WITH CHIAPPE AFTER FRENCHMAN WINS IN ABU DHABI
· Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi finish seventh and 12th overall
· Team Abu Dhabi holds lead over Team Sweden and CTIC Shenzhen China Team heading to final race
· Team Abu Dhabi’s Al-Mehairbi maintains third in F4-S; start-to-finish win for Brisset
ABU DHABI (UAE): Friday, December 8: Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella will have to wait until next weekend’s Grand Prix of Sharjah to make his final push for a fourth UIM F1 H2O World Championship title after finishing third in a scintillating 25th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi off the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Friday afternoon.
Triple World Champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC Shenzhen China Team didn’t read the Team Abu Dhabi script correctly and the wily Frenchman delivered a stunning start-to-finish victory to reduce the Italian’s lead to 11 points with 20 points at stake for a win next week and 15 for second place. It means Carella will need to finish third or higher to claim his crown if Chiappe manages to win the race.
Norwegian Marit Stromoy missed out on her second ever Grand Prix victory by just 2.37 seconds, but it was a stunning drive by the only female in the championship. Team Sweden’s Erik Stark ceded another five points to Carella with fifth place and cannot catch now the Team Abu Dhabi driver at the final round. Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente finished fourth and Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson rounded off the top six.
The result means that Carella and Chiappe will go head-to-head on Khaled Lagoon and the pair will also be working closely with their respective teams to try and clinch the UIM Teams’ Championship. Team Abu Dhabi currently holds a 33-point advantage over Team Sweden and 35 points over the CTIC Shenzhen China Team.
Carella said: “I am quite happy with this performance actually. It was a tough race. I did what I could. I pushed and closed the gap to Marit many times but it was just too risky. I think we really have to push at the maximum next week.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi were closely matched throughout the race and had differing fortunes at the finish. Thani reached the chequered flag in seventh position, but fuel pump problems plagued Rashed’s DAC on the final couple of laps and he slipped from 10th to 12th. “It was disappointing for me,” said Rashed. “I pushed hard and was in 10th, then I had this fuel pump problem and it cost me two places.”
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 umbrella of the ADIMSC, board member and general manager Salem Al-Remeithi and team manager Guido Cappellini.
Cappellini said: “We are happy because we scored points and Erik (Stark) is now out of contention. It’s just Chiappe and Alex now. But it is very important that we win the Teams’ Championship and we will work hard for that. In case Chiappe wins the race next week and his second driver arrives second, it will give them the same points as us. We need just one point to beat them and three to beat Team Sweden. So this title is very near.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi maintained third in the UIM F4-S Trophy standings after finishing fifth in the second of the 18-lap Abu Dhabi races. Jeremy Brisset led from start-to-finish to move within two points of series leader and race runner-up Mansoor Al-Mansoori of Dubai’s Victory Team. Rashed Al-Romaithi finished ninth in the second of the host team’s boats.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, His Highness Zayed bin Tanoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Hureiz bin Hureiz (Chairman of the UAE Marine Sports Federation), Ahmed Ibrahim (Vice-Chairman of the UAE Marine Sports Federation), Telal Al-Hashimi (Abu Dhabi Sports Council), Nicolo di San Germano (H2O Racing), Salem Al-Remeithi of the ADIMSC and Ni Jian (Chinese Ambassador to the UAE) presented the trophies on the podium.
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan attended the podium ceremony on Thursday afternoon.
Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi
With technical issues sidelining a disappointed Bartek Marszalek, Matthew Palfreyman and Erik Edin, only 18 boats lined up the starting pontoon for the 52-lap race and engine changes forced Mike Szymura and Sami Selio to the bottom of the running order. As a result, Rashed and Thani Al-Qemzi started from seventh and 13th.
Chiappe led into the first turn buoy from Stromoy, Carella, Torrente and Stark, but the race was yellow flagged when Sami Selio and Cedric Deguisne came together spectacularly at turn five near the beach area of the race course. Selio’s BABA ended up inverted in the water and the double World Champion’s miserable season reached a new low.
Racing resumed on lap six and the leading five boats held station with Chiappe extending his advantage to 2.69 seconds through lap eight and Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi held 10th and 11th places. The Frenchman’s lead over Stromoy grew to 5.87 seconds after 12 laps, as Carella, Torrente and Stark maintained their top five positions and Thani Al-Qemzi moved ahead of Ahmed Al-Hameli to snatch ninth.
But Stromoy was in superb form and began to reduce Chiappe’s lead as the leader began to catch some tail-enders. Both Mike Szymura and Amaury Jousseaume retired and the field had already been reduced to just 14 boats before lap 15. Chiappe regained a second of his advantage into lap 18, but Francesco Cantando and Duarte Benevente also left the fray and the field was whittled down to just 12. The leader had lapped everyone to 10th position by the time he reached lap 24, as Carella, Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi maintained third, ninth and 11th.
By the halfway point, after 26 laps, the top five was unchanged and the leaders settled into a high-speed procession through the middle of the race as cloud cover reduced air temperatures in fading light over the race course. Rashed Al-Qemzi managed to find a way to overtake Al-Hameli and climbed into the top 10 and Thani Al-Qemzi moved in front of Filip Roms to snatch eighth.
Chiappe maintained his composure and benefited from a lighter fuel load to maintain his lead over the pursuing Norwegian and the series leader. The Frenchman reached the chequered flag to claim a deserved win and managed to close the gap on Carella to 11 points. Stromoy rounded off a stunning weekend with second position and Stark maintained his title push with fifth place behind Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente. Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi finished seventh and 12th, but Peter Morin dropped down to ninth in the final minutes.
Deguisne was later red-carded for dangerous driving after his collision with Selio and will miss the final race of the season.
Stromoy won the morning’s practice session with a fastest lap of 44.61sec, but a worrying fuel-related issue sidelined Marszalek and a technical issue forced Palfreyman’s to withdraw his Dragon boat after just four laps.
Carella and Rashed and Thani Al-Qemzi ran for 12, 21 and 16 laps respectively and were classified in second, ninth and 10th positions. Sami Selio switched to his shorter BABA after the crash on Thursday and recorded the third fastest lap of 45.22sec.
F4-S – race 2
Jeremy Brisset, Louise Vella and Mansoor Al-Mansoori became embroiled in a three-way tussle through the opening couple of turns and then the pole-sitting Frenchman began to edge clear and Al-Mansoori found a way to overtake the young Australia rookie. The trio held station for the next few laps, as veteran Hungarian Rudolf Mihaldinecz overtook Mohammed Al-Mehairbi to snatch fourth and began to close in on Vella.
The duo belied their 41-year age difference and fought out a gripping tussle through the next few laps, only for the Hungarian to use his experience to snatch third place as the race progressed. As Brisset headed off into the distance to reach the chequered flag 5.47 seconds clear of Al-Mansoori, Mihaldinecz held on to maintain third from Vella, Al-Mehairbi and Mohamed Al-Matlae. Al-Romaithi was ninth.
Brisset began the day well with the fastest lap of 1in 01.07sec in the morning’s free practice session that preceded the timed trials. He ran for seven laps and was 0.62 seconds quicker than Vella. Al-Mehairbi was classified in fifth behind the Victory Team duo of Al-Mansoori and Al-Matlae and Al-Romaithi was ninth.
The Frenchman continued his good form to claim pole position with a lap of 1min 01.67sec with Vella qualifying in second place ahead of Al-Mansoori and Al-Mehairbi. Al-Romaithi lined up in seventh.
Attention now switches to the final round of the series on Khaled Lagoon in Sharjah next weekend.
2017 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – result:
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 52 laps
2. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team @2.37sec
3. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi @9.51sec
4. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team @18.01sec
5. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Sweden @26.76sec
6. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden @44.65sec
7. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 1 lap behind
8. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing 1 lap behind
9. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 2 laps behind
10. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team 2 laps behind
11. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 3 laps behind
12. Rashed Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 3 laps behind
Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team RET
Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team RET
Mike Szymura (DEU) Emirates Racing Team RET
Amaury Jousseaume (FRA) Maverick F1 Team RET
Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team RET
Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing RET
Bartek Marszalak (POL) Blaze F1 Team DNS
Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Emirates Racing Team DNS
Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden DNS
2017 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – positions after round 5:
1. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 70pts
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 59pts
3. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Sweden 49pts
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing 30pts
4. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 30pts
6. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 29pts
7. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 28pts
8. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 18pts
9. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 17pts
10. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 14pts
10. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Blaze Performance Team 14pts
2017 F4-S Trophy – latest positions:
1. Mansoor Al-Mansoori (UAE) Victory Team 95pts
2. Jeremy Brisset (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team 93pts
3. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 77pts
4. Louise Vella (AUS) Team Sweden 69pts
5. Corentin Guesnel (FRA) Maverick F1 37pts
5. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team 37pts
7. Kalle Viippo (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing Team 29pts
8. Rudolf Mihaldinecz (HUN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 21pts
9. Mohamed Al-Yamahi (UAE) Victory Team 16pts
10. Sebastien Haugaard (SWE) Team Sweden 15pts
11. Damon Cohen (AUS) Blaze Performance 8pts
11. Mohamed Al-Matlae (UAE) Victory Team 8pts
13. Rashed Al-Romaithi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 6pts
Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team 0pt
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