AQUA Team Abu Dhabi's Rashid Al-Mulla wins Freestyle qualifying heat in Sharjah
2018 UIM-ABP AQUABIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Sharjah, UAE – December 11-14
TEAM ABU DHABI’S RASHID AL-MULLA WINS FREESTYLE QUALIFYING HEAT IN SHARJAH
· Rashed Al-Tayer qualifies fourth in Runabout GP1; pole position for Jeremy Perez
SHARJAH (UAE): Tuesday, December 11: Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al-Mulla got his bid to clinch the Freestyle category in the UIM-ABP Freestyle World Championship off to the perfect start by winning his qualifying heat on Khalid Lagoon in Sharjah on Tuesday afternoon.
The 31-year-old Emirati delivered another polished acrobatic display of spins, flips, barrel-rolls, fountains, somersaults and combinations to earn a score of 90 points for style and quantity to claim the early bragging rights. World number one Roberto Mariani was judged to be second and the UAE’s Ali Abdeljalil rounded off the top three. Russia’s Alexander Kuramshin had been the first on the water in front of the judges and VIP grandstand.
Al-Mulla said: “I am so excited to be riding my bike here in Sharjah at the last round. I have prepared hard and will be looking to win this race. I feel a little extra pressure. I am a bit nervous. I have been working on this programme now for almost seven years.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Tayer began his water-sporting career on aqua bikes and he is quietly confident that he can spring a surprise and snatch victory in the Runabout GP1 category. He only ran for one lap during the two practice sessions on Tuesday morning and started the pole position qualifying late after technical issues. He moved up from 17th to ninth with a third lap of 1min 56.22sec to reach Q2 and qualified for the opening race in fourth place with a lap of 1min 48.46sec.
French championship leader Jeremy Perez eventually claimed pole position with the fastest lap of 1min 43.73sec in the Q2 session to beat Kuwait’s defending champion Yousef Al-Abdulrazzaq by 1.85 seconds in calmer water conditions. Al-Abdulrazzaq had topped the times in Q1 with a third run of 1min 50.93sec. Emirati Mohammed Al-Mohsin was classified in 17th in Q1, although two of the 20 bikes failed to start the first 15-minute session.
“I did two laps very fast and I got pole position,” said Perez. “I feel a lot of stress. It is not easy to be in the lead. Sometimes it is better to be second. I need to keep my position. It will not be easy. My mechanic Teddy Pons has helped me a lot. We have been working together for two years now. I want to win this championship for him as well.”
Al-Tayer said: “I started from the very beginning with the jet-ski racing. This is my sport. After that, I went to the Formula 4 and then Formula 2 and Offshore, XCAT and Class 1. This is totally different. I hope to win the race here in Sharjah. I don’t have the points to challenge for the championship because I lose one race from the heats.”
The Victory Team’s Kevin Reiterer dominated the Q1 session in Ski Division GP1, where the top 10 fastest drivers moved through to the Q2 session that followed. 2018 European Champion Raphael Maurin of France was second and Norway’s Svae Daniel Anderson was third.
Reiterer went on to claim pole position with his fourth Q2 lap of 1min 58.91sec. Belgian Quinten Bossche moved up to second and Spain’s Nacho Armillas pushed Maurin down to fourth with the third quickest run, despite being towed in after just two completed tours.
Estonia’s Jasmiin Ypraus won Q1 in the Ski Ladies category with a lap of 2min 08.58sec from Sweden’s Emma-Nellie Ortendahl and Jonna Borgström. Ten of the 12 starters reached the 10 minutes of Q2. Ortendahl went on to win the session with a lap of 2min 04.2sec on her Kawasaki and is devoting the weekend’s racing to the memory of her grandfather who passed away recently. Ypraus was second and Latvia’s Krista Uzare rounded off the top three.
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.
The Moto 1 and Moto 2 heats take centre stage on Wednesday from 10.00hrs and 15.00hrs, respectively.
2018 UIM-ABP World Championship
Freestyle – Qualifying heat result
1. Rashid Al-Mulla (UAE) 90pts
2. Roberto Mariani (ITA) 77pts
3. Ali Abdeljali (UAE) 58pts
4. Paolo Nunes (PRT) 53pts
5. Alexander Kuramshin (RUS) 52pts
6. Alberto Camerlengo (ITA) 50pts
2018 UIM-ABP World Championship
Runabout GP1 – Pole Position result (Q2):
1. Jeremy Perez (FRA) 1min 43.73sec
2. Yousef Al-Abdulrazaq (KUW) 1min 45.58sec
3. Lars Akerblom (SWE) 1min 47.89sec
4. Rashid Al-Tayer (UAE) 1min 48.46sec, etc
Timetable of events
Wednesday, December 12
10.00-12.00 Moto 1
15.00-17.00 Moto 2
Friday, December 14
10.15-12.15 Free practice
14.00-16.00 Moto 3
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.