F1 Team Abu Dhabi aim to confirm UIM F1 H2O Teams' title at home race


Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, UAE – December 6-8


· Team Abu Dhabi’s Torrente heads into Breakwater showdown with seven-point lead over Stark
· Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi and Germany’s Max Stilz set for duel in F4 Trophy

ABU DHABI (UAE): Wednesday, December 5: Team Abu Dhabi faces one of the most important and potentially lucrative races in its history when the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) hosts this weekend’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, the penultimate round of the 2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship.

The team has dominated this year’s championship thus far and team drivers Shaun Torrente, Erik Stark and Thani Al-Qemzi head into the weekend’s action holding the top three places in the Drivers’ Championship. Team Abu Dhabi has a massive 53-point advantage in the UIM Teams’ Championship and Stark leads Torrente by seven points in the Pole Position Championship.

Mathematically, all three titles could be sewn up on the challenging 1.973km race course at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater by Saturday afternoon, although it is more likely that Team Abu Dhabi will clinch the Teams’ series for the third time in four years and the outcome of both the Drivers’ and Pole titles will go down to the wire in Sharjah on December 15th.

A pair of 1-2-3 finishes and a 1-3 outcome in Amaravati last month has put the Emirati team that runs under the umbrella of the ADIMSC, board member and general manager Salem Al-Remeithi and team manager Guido Cappellini in a superb position. Team Abu Dhabi drivers have won all five rounds of the series so far this year and claimed 11 of the 15 available podium places.

The team has been testing in the build up to a race where Torrente takes a seven-point lead over Stark into the weekend. An engine issue robbed Al-Qemzi of his chance to reach the podium in India, but the Emirati is determined to overcome the set back and reduce the 18 points by which he trails Torrente.

The Abu Dhabi driver needs to finish ahead of the American at the very least to keep his title hopes alive, while Stark will need to be at least fifth and collect at least eight points if Torrente wins the race at the Breakwater. More importantly, both Al-Qemzi and Stark will be hoping to push for the race win and take the outcome of the title battle to a thrilling conclusion at the final round.

The silverware is not just restricted to Team Abu Dhabi drivers, however, and a race win for fourth-placed Peter Morin of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team would keep the Frenchman in the hunt provided that Torrente didn’t finish inside the top five. Morin’s team-mate, three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe, holds fifth in the title race and needs at least two race wins to stand any chance of winning the championship for a fourth time.

There are several drivers more than capable of springing a surprise and spoiling the Abu Dhabi party on home waters. Defending champion and four-time World Champion Alex Carella of the Victory Team and his team-mate Ahmed Al-Hameli are sure to be quick in qualifying and have the pace to stave off the Abu Dhabi onslaught. They have also been testing in the build up to the race.

Marit Strømøy of the Emirates Racing Team finished second in India last month and very nearly upstaged Torrente to claim pole position on the Krishna River, while Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson and Finland’s Sami Selio will be pushing hard. Nineteen drivers are expected to take the start of the weekend’s racing.

Series leader Torrente, who carried out some late testing this morning, said: “This is our home race. We have had such an amazing season and I guess everyone else wants to beat us here. It’s kind of everyone else’s Super Bowl. We have everything pretty well in hand.

“We are pretty close to the Teams’ Championship. We have to take care of business and get some points and we should be okay. The Drivers’ Championship, we can at least, if we all run well here, we can lock it out for the last race. That would be nice. There are no team orders. In fact, Thani and I were testing this morning and we were working on his lap and his line and trying to get his time where it needs to be. My main goal is to win the championship. It would be amazing for Thani to win this race at home. He has never done it. The team is working hard to help him try and accomplish that.

“The weather forecast looks good. We have been working here for two weeks and we’ve had some changeable weather. It’s been a bit windy. It’s calmed down in the last few days. You test everyday and yet you never feel completely prepared. You still want to try something. Our rivals have also been working very hard. Marit ran great in India. She’s a very good driver. Her boat is suited to this race course and she did well here last year. Victory has been working hard as well and we saw the improvement in their pace in India. We are not sleeping. We understand that to get on top is hard and to stay on top is even harder.

“We are all fighting for our first World Championship. We have great equipment and a great team. As much as I want to win for myself, I want to win for the guys at Team Abu Dhabi. They work real hard.”

Meanwhile, Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Mehairbi is trying to follow in the footsteps of Rashed Al-Qemzi and win the UIM F4 Trophy, the series that runs in conjunction with the F1 H2O Championship. Teams tackle two 20-minute races during the weekend’s timetable and Al-Mehairbi currently trails Germany’s Max Stilz by a single point with a potential 80 still at stake at the four remaining races in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

England’s Sam Whittle, Frenchman Tom Chiappe and the Victory Team’s Ahmed Al-Fahim have closed the gap on their rivals and good performances in Abu Dhabi could see a thrilling end to the F4 season on Khaled Lagoon.

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.

After free practice on Thursday afternoon, teams will tackle BRM qualifying on Friday and the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi is scheduled for 15.30hrs on Saturday afternoon. (see weekend’s timetable below).

Spectators are welcome to attend at the Abu Dhabi Corniche free of charge from 14.00hrs each day over race weekend. The ADIMSC has laid on trade stalls, refreshments and catering stands, childrens’ and family activities and live entertainment to entertain the crowds between the races.

2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – standings after round 5:
1. Shaun Torrente (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 72pts
2. Erik Stark (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 65pts
3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 54pts
4. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 39pts
5. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 34pts
6. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 26pts
7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 18pts
7. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati 18pts
9. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati 14pts
10. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 10pts
11. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 9pts
12. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 7pts
13. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts
13. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts
15. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team 4pts
15. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 4pts
16. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team 3pts
17. Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team 2pts
18. Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) Maverick F1 Team 1pt

2018 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – standings after round 5:
1. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Abu Dhabi 67pts
2. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi 60pts
3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 45pts
4. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 42pts
5. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 24pts
6. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 21pts
7. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 20pts
8. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Amaravati 19pts
9. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 14pts
10. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team 12pts
11. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 9pts
12. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati 7pts

2018 F4 Trophy – positions after race 8:
1. Max Stilz (DEU) Blaze Performance 87pts
2. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 86pts
3. Sam Whittle (GBR) F1 Atlantic Team 70pts
4. Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team 65pts
5. Ahmed Al-Fahim (UAE) Victory Team 63pts
6. Wu Bingchen (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team 40pts
7. Pedro Fortuna (PRT) Team Sweden 35pts
8. Alexander Lindholm (FIN) Team Amaravati 29pts
9. Ben Jelf (GBR) Team Amaravati 27pts
10. Rudolf Mihaldinecz (HUN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 22pts
11. Xavier Autard (FRA) Maverick Racing 21pts
12. Quentin Dailly (FRA) Maverick Racing 17pts
13. Camille Broutechoux (FRA) Maverick Racing 8pts
14. Joris Colleret (FRA) Maverick Racing 7pts
15. Louise Vella (AUS) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 5pts
16. Ian Gonsalves (GUY) Maverick Racing 3pts

Timetable of events
Thursday, December 6

08.00-15.00 Technical scrutineering
15.00-17.00 Extra free practice

Friday, December 7
09.10-09.30 F4 free practice
09.40-10.00 F4 time trials
10.15-11.15 F1 free practice
14.00 F4 race 1
15.30 BRM F1 qualifying

Saturday, December 8
09.10-09.30 F4 free practice
09.40-10.00 F4 time trials
10.15-11.15 F1 free practice
14.00 F4 race 2
15.30 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi


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: 05/12/2018

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