F1 Team Abu Dhabi's Al-Qemzi moves into second in World Championship with fourth in London


Grand Prix of London, England – June 15-17


· Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente disqualified after collision with turn buoys
· Maverick Team’s Erik Stark claims victory; Philippe Chiappe in second and leads title race
· Mohammed Al-Mehairbi crashes out of F4 race; second London victory for Max Stilz

LONDON (ENGLAND): Sunday, June 17: Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qemzi moved up to second position in the UIM F1 H2O World Championship standings after finishing fourth in a dramatic Grand Prix of London at the Royal Victoria Dock in East London on Sunday.

The first race in the British capital for 33 years was yellow-flagged on two occasions, but the delays failed to prevent Erik Stark of the Maverick F1 Team from leading from start-to-finish to seal victory and 20 valuable championship points.

Three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team shadowed the young Swede to the finish in second position and had the consolation of moving into a three-point World Championship lead over Al-Qemzi. Chiappe’s French team-mate Peter Morin rounded off the podium places in front of thousands of spectators in the heart of the British capital.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente climbed from eighth to sixth place before colliding with two turn buoys on the 10th lap. The American was disqualified to cap a miserable weekend for the former championship leader. Defending World Champion Alex Carella crashed out of fourth position on lap 36 and only 10 of the original 18 entrants reached the chequered flag. Finland’s Sami Selio and Australian Grant Trask rounded off the top six.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi qualified in second position behind Frenchman Xavier Autard for the second of the weekend’s F4 Trophy races but the Emirati crashed out of contention on the opening lap. A spin by Autard dropped him to an eventual fourth and that paved the way for German driver Max Stilz to seal a second win of the weekend and a useful championship lead after four races.

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.

GP of London

The Team Abu Dhabi duo of Torrente and Al-Qemzi lined up in eighth and 13th places for the first race in London for 33 years, but the American was still frustrated by the performance in qualifying. He said: “We made too many small mistakes, especially me, I chose the wrong propeller for Q2 and I never had a clean lap. I had a really good one and the last corner, I got blocked a bit. We were disappointed, but the race was a new day and the plan was to salvage the race with a good performance.

Stark led Chiappe and Carella from the start pontoon into 54 laps of the 1.72km, three-pin course on the River Thames. Overcast and slighty windy conditions greeted teams and the decision was taken to use a rolling start instead of a static take-off from the pontoon. Filip Roms was forced to start at the rear of the field.

Stark maintained his advantage over Chiappe, Carella and Morin through the opening lap, as Torrente climbed to seventh and Al-Qemzi stormed into ninth place. Morin found a way passed Carella to snatch third place and Torrente tried to make up ground from an outside line in slightly cleaner water. He managed to pass Erik Edin and snatch sixth place, as Stark held a 2.43 second lead over Chiappe through seven laps.

But the race was yellow-flagged on lap 10 when Torrente collided with two turn buoys and was disqualified. Neither Roms nor Bartek Marszalek made the start with engine issues.

Action resumed on lap 16 and Stark held his line to stay in front of Chiappe, Morin and Cantando, with Carella slipping to fifth and Al-Qemzi holding eighth. Jonas Andersson also found a way passed the defending champion to hold fifth through 20 laps. Edin slipped down to ninth place with a damaged pickle fork, as Stark held a 2.52-second lead over Chiappe through 24 laps and Al-Qemzi maintained eighth.

Grant Trask overtook Edin to snatch eighth position, but the leading seven drivers held station into lap 27 and there were no changes in the running order until Andersson succumbed to engine issues and retired on lap 29. His demise lifted Carella into fourth and Al-Qemzi into sixth place. Edin had also fallen by the wayside.

Stark led Chiappe by 3.1 seconds into lap 32, but Cantando ground to a halt on the far west of the course and lost his place inside the top 10 and Mette Bjerknaes also withdrew. Carella, who had also been running with a broken pickle fork, then overturned his Victory Team boat on lap 36 and forced a second yellow flag with 18 laps remaining.

Only 10 boats remained in the race when action restarted on lap 44. Stark, Chiappe and Morin maintained their top three places, but Al-Qemzi snatched fourth place from Selio and began to pressurise Morin for the last podium place. Cedric Deguisne overtook Duarte Benavente to earn ninth place heading into the last few laps.

Stark was not to be denied, however, and the Maverick Team driver stayed ahead of Chiappe to seal a 3.34-second victory. Chiappe moved into the World Championship lead with second place and Morin wrapped up the final podium position from Al-Qemzi.

Ahmed Al-Hameli and Marit Strømøy had edged in front of Torrente, Chiappe and Al-Qemzi in the closing stages of the morning’s free practice session that the Team Abu Dhabi duo had dominated for long periods. The Victory Tea driver won the session with a lap of 39.42sec, after being docked a Q2 qualifying lap on Saturday, but it was a big improvement for both Torrente and Al-Qemzi with the American carding a best run of 39.97sec.

F4 – race 2

Frenchman Xavier Autard led Mohammed Al-Mehairbi and race one winner Max Stilz into the second of the weekend’s 25-lap F4 Trophy races. Autard made a good start and continued to hold the lead, as Al-Mehairbi flipped out of contention and Sam Whittle narrowly avoided contact with the Emirati as the yellow flag brought racing to a halt. Tom Chiappe was a non-starter.

Action resumed on lap four and Autard continued to lead from Stilz, Whittle and Ahmed Al-Fahim of the Victory Team. But the Maverick Team driver spun out of the lead at the Connaught Bridge end of the course on lap eight and gifted the lead to Stilz, with Whittle moving into second place and Al-Fahim climbing to third.

The German began to edge clear of his rivals and led by 4.35 seconds at the halfway point, although young Whittle stayed in contention and closed slightly over the next few laps. With five laps to run the difference was down to 2.37 seconds but Stilz hld on to claim a second win of the weekend and surge into the championship lead from Al-Mehairbi and Chiappe. Whittle and Al-Fahim rounded off the podium positions with the Briton reaching the chequered flag just 2.45 seconds behind the German.

Al-Mehairbi beat Stilz and Autard in the morning’s last free practice, but the qualifying session was the crucial factor and the Emirati began well to move into second place behind Autard with a lap of 42.05sec. Neither Tom Chiappe nor Louise Vella started the stint after their crashes on Saturday afternoon although Sam Whittle’s boat was repaired after his indiscretion. Vella was waiting for a new engine for her race boat.

Autard held on to claim pole position with a time of 40.98sec and Al-Mehairbi and Stilz were classified in second and third of the six boats on the water.

Action in the 2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship resumes at Évian-les-Baines in the Rhône-Alpes region of south-eastern France on June 29-July 1.

2018 Grand Prix of London – result:
1. Erik Stark (SWE) Maverick F1 Team 54 laps
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team @3.34sec
3. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team @6.67sec
4. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi @16.12sec
5. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team @19.52sec
6. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team @23.73sec
7. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team @27.62sec
8. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team L1
9. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team L1
10. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team L1
Mette Bjerknaes (NOR) Maverick F1 Team DNF
Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team DNF
Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team DNF
Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden DNF
Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden DNF
Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi DSQ
Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team DNF
Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team DNS
Bartek Marszalak (POL)Emirates Racing Team DNS

2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – standings after round 2:
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 27pts
2. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 24pts
3. Erik Stark (SWE) Maverick F1 Racing 21pts
4. Shaun Torrente (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 20pts
5. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 19pts
6. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 9pts
7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 8pts
8. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 7pts
9. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts
9. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts
11. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 4pts
12. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 3pts
13. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden 2pts
13. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team 2pts

2018 F4 Trophy – positions after race 4:
1. Max Stilz (DEU) Blaze Performance 54pts
2. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 39pts
3. Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team 37pts
4. Pedro Fortuna (PRT) Team Sweden 35pts
5. Wu Bingchen (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team 30pts
6. Ahmed Al-Fahim (UAE) Victory Team 26pts
7. Xavier Autard (FRA) Maverick Racing 21pts
8. Sam Whittle (GBR) F1 Atlantic Team 19pts
9. Quentin Dailly (FRA) Maverick Racing 17pts
10. Louise Vella (AUS) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 5pts
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: 17/06/2018

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