F1 Team Abu Dhabi's Shaun Torrente qualifies in eighth for GP of London


Grand Prix of London, England – June 15-17


· Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qemzi misses Q2 and qualifies in 13th; pole for Maverick’s Erik Stark
· Mohammed Al-Mehairbi finishes second in dramatic F4 Trophy race; victory for Stilz

LONDON (ENGLAND): Saturday, June 16: Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente and Thani Al-Qemzi suffered a disappointing BRM qualifying session for the Grand Prix of London, the second round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship, at Royal Victoria Dock in East London on Saturday afternoon.

Nineteen boats have entered the first race to be held in the English capital for 33 years and the two drivers running out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) could not find the necessary pace on the 1.72km, three-pin course which featured two 850-metre straights.

A frustrated Torrente missed out on Q3 and qualified in eighth position, while Al-Qemzi looked to be safely through to the Q2 session only to miss out in the last minute of Q1. The experienced Emirati will line up for the race in 13th.

Erik Stark of the Maverick F1 Team stunned his rivals with a 37.71sec time to beat three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team and claim his third career pole position. Defending World Champion Alex Carella rounded off the podium positions for the Victory Team.

Chiappe’s fellow Frenchman Peter Morin carded a flying lap of 38.44sec to qualify fourth. Sweden’s Erik Edin was fifth and Poland’s Bartek Marszalek rounded off the top six.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi qualified fifth for the first of the two F4 Trophy races and reached the chequered flag in second position behind German driver Max Stilz in an action-packed race where the yellow flag was used on three occasions. Al-Mehairbi now leads the F4 Trophy by two points after three races from Frenchman Tom Chiappe of the Emirates Racing Team, who crashed on the last lap of the day’s race.

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.

BRM Qualifying

Qualifying was split into two sessions of 30 minutes and 20 minutes and the traditional six-boat shoot-out on the tricky course on the River Thames with seven boats eliminated in Q1 and a further six in Q2. Peter Morin carded his intent from the outset with a lap of 42.88sec and that lap was only surpassed by Carella’s 42.81sec after five minutes of the session. Torrente was safe in third with a time of 43.11sec.

Filip Roms retired after 10 minutes of the session with technical issues, as Thani Al-Qemzi moved to the top of the rankings with a lap of 41.61sec and moved ahead of Duarte Benavente, Chiappe, Erik Stark and Ahmed Al-Hameli. Torrente found himself down in 11th position and then moved to the front of the field with a flying lap of 41.36sec to confirm his place in Q2. Erik Edin eventually won the session with a lap of 40.56sec from Ahmed Al-Hameli and Bartek Marszalek. Torrente finished in 11th.

Female drivers Simone Schuft, debutant Mette Bjerknaes and fellow Norwegian Marit Strømøy (fuel flow issues) were eventually eliminated alongside Cedric Deguisne, Roms, Grant Trask and Thani Al-Qemzi, who slipped into the bottom seven in the last minute of the session.

Another six drivers would be eliminated in Q2. Francesco Cantando carded an early target time of 40.49sec and that was quickly surpassed by Edin’s 40.44sec flyer. Stark ran a 40.13sec to take the lead, as Sami Selio and Torrente entered the fray, the latter having made a propeller change.

Carella topped the times with a 40.03sec lap with 11 minutes remaining, but Torrente was in trouble and running out of time to make the top six in choppy conditions. He languished in ninth heading into the last two minutes of the session and was not able to move up higher than eighth in a session that fell to Carella from Chiappe and Stark. Jonas Andersson, Selio, Duarte Benavente, Cantando and Al-Hameli were also eliminated.

Marszalek was the first on to the course for the six-boat Q3 shoot-out and the Pole carded the target of 41.55sec. Morin was next out and the Frenchman clocked an opening flyer of 38.44sec. Young Swede Edin began with a 42.36sec and improved with a second lap of 39.69sec to move ahead of the Pole.

Stark was next on to the water and the Maverick Team driver clocked a 37.71sec opener to claim provisional pole. Chiappe opened his account with a lap of 37.89sec but was not able to beat the Swede. Carella aborted his first run in a time of 44.89sec and the Victory Team driver clocked a 38.15sec second run to qualify in third place behind Stark and Chiappe.

F1 Practice

Torrente mixed it with Carella and Chiappe in the official practice session on Saturday morning. With 19 minutes of the session remaining, Carella topped the times with a 39.28sec lap, but Torrente proved that pre-race testing had been beneficial by posting a stunning time of 39.05sec to surge back to the top of the standings. Al-Qemzi was down in ninth place with a best tour of 41 seconds.

But Erik Stark rocked the established drivers with a potent lap of 38.95sec with less than nine minutes of the session remaining to head the standings, only for Chiappe to run even quicker almost immediately with a tour of 38.42sec. Torrente retaliated with a 38.94sec to regain second position and also gave an indication of what teams could expect from a BRM Qualifying session in the afternoon.

The Team Abu Dhabi driver then ran even quicker with six minutes remaining to post a 38.34sec lap. Carella ran a 38.56sec tour in the closing minutes but Torrente held on to claim the session win. Al-Qemzi was ninth of the 19 drivers.

Eighteen drivers took to the water for extra practice on Friday afternoon. Torrente commented on the conditions: “With a lot of boats on the water, it gets rough real quick and then, depending on the wind, one lap you get a big gust and the next nothing.”

F4 – race one

Xavier Autard of the Maverick Racing team claimed pole position for the first of the two F4 Trophy races with a best lap of 41.09sec in a session that finished under the yellow flag. Tom Chiappe was 7/100ths of a second behind and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi qualified in fifth place behind Sam Whittle and Max Stilz.

Autard led the eight boats into the 25-lap race that was yellow-flagged immediately when young Sam Whittle flipped out of the reckoning. Autard held his lead from the re-start from Stilz and Al-Mehairbi as Chiappe survived a spin. Stilz gained the lead on the fourth lap and Al-Mehairbi also passed the Frenchman to snatch second position soon afterwards. Autard then lost third place to young Australian Louise Vella after a spin.

The leaders held station through 16 laps, but Vella flipped out of contention on lap 17 and the yellow flag came into play again. Action resumed on lap 21 with four remaining. Stilz held on to reach the chequered flag 2.05 seconds ahead of Al-Mehairbi and Autard rounded off the podium positions after an action-packed opening race that finished under another yellow flag after Chiappe rolled on the final lap and slipped from fourth to sixth.

Further F4 practice and time trials start at 09.10hrs on Sunday morning and F1 crews will be permitted a one-hour warm-up from 10.15hrs. The green flag will be waved for the second F4 race at 13.30hrs and the Grand Prix of London is scheduled for 15.00hrs (18.00hrs UAE time).

2018 Grand Prix of London – BRM Qualifying:

1. Erik Stark (SWE) Maverick F1 Team 37.71sec
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 37.89sec
3. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 38.15sec
4. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 38.44sec
5. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden 39.69sec
6. Bartek Marszalak (POL)Emirates Racing Team 41.55sec
7. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 40.49sec
8. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi 40.69sec
9. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 40.84sec
10. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 41.11sec
11. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 41.39sec
12. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 41.53sec
13. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 41.61sec
14. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team 41.89sec
15. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 42.63sec
16. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team 44.05sec
17. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 44.29sec
18. Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team 45.92sec
19. Mette Bjerknaes (NOR) Maverick F1 Team 46.56sec

2018 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – standings after round 2:
1. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 24pts
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 22pts
3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi 20pts
3. Erik Stark (SWE) Maverick F1 Team 20pts
5. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 15pts
6. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 14pts
7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 9pts
8. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden 7pts
9. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team 5pts

2018 F4 Trophy – positions after race 3:
1. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 39pts
2. Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team 37pts
3. Pedro Fortuna (PRT) Team Sweden 35pts
4. Max Stilz (DEU) Blaze Performance 34pts
5. Wu Bingchen (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team 23pts
6. Quentin Dailly (FRA) Maverick Racing 17pts
7. Ahmed Al-Fahim (UAE) Victory Team 14pts
8. Xavier Autard (FRA) Maverick Racing 12pts
9. Louise Vella (AUS) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 4pts
9. Sam Whittle (GBR) F1 Atlantic Team 4pts
11. Ian Gonsalves (GUY) Maverick Racing 3pts
12. Rudolf Mihaldinecz (HUN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 2pts


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: 16/06/2018

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