The thrilling UIM F1 H20 World Championship resumes on the picturesque Lac Leman in Évian-les-Bains this weekend and Team Abu Dhabi will be looking for an outright win to lift them to the top of the championship standings.
The 20th Grand Prix of France is the second round of the prestigious series and the second successive year that the French spa town has hosted a round of the series. Alex Carella and Thani Al-Qamzi will represent the team out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) and both are more than capable of snatching the outright win and enhancing their chances of wresting the world title from the clutches of Phillipe Chiappe, the current series leader and the defending World Champion, from the CTICC China Team.
Carella has unfinished business in Evian. Last year he stormed to outright victory only to be disqualified from the final results for a technical infringement. Italy’s David Del Pin was his team-mate on that occasion, but Al-Qamzi’s return to the Abu Dhabi line-up has been warmly welcomes in F1 circles. The Emirati retired from the opening round in Dubai in March, on an event where Chiappe led from start-to-finish to seal the win and Carella shadowed him to the flag in second place.
That means Carella trails Chiappe by five points in the Drivers’ Championship, with Shaun Torrente of Dubai’s Victory Team in third and Sweden’s Jonas Andersson holding fourth. Al-Qamzi needs to get on the score sheet and there is no better place to do that than in the south of France.
Thani and I have been very busy in the last few weeks keeping our hand in with the team, carrying out some testing and making sure we are focused and ready to push in Evian. Since the Dubai Grand Prix, we won our class at the 24 Hours of Rouen and I took part in an F2 race and we were both in action last weekend at a round of the World Endurance Championship in Poland. It all helps you keep the race focus and maintain the confidence.
Team Abu Dhabi is supported by Etihad Airways as the official carrier and sponsor 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 (ADIMSC). The team is managed by the multiple Italian World Champion Guido Cappellini and runs under the auspices of the ADIMSC and assistant general manager Salem Al-Remeithi who said,
The F1 H20 World Championship is one of the most prestigious in the UIM calendar and one that we are seriously focusing on winning this season. Our on-race team manager Guido Cappellini is the most successful driver in the history of the sport. His knowledge and the talents of both Thani and Alex should give us an excellent chance to challenge for the win this weekend.
Évian-les-Bains is a commune in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France and is renowned as a spa town on the shores of Lake Leman. It is famous for its mineral water that is bottled and sold across the world.
The timetable is split over three days, with technical scrutineering and administration taking centre stage on Friday (July 15) and free practice and F1 BRM pole position qualifying being the focus on Saturday. After further free practice on Sunday morning, the 20th Grand Prix of France roars into life at 15.00hrs CET.
2016 UIM F1H2O World Championship – Drivers’ Championship standings – after round 1:
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team – 20 pts
2. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi – 15 pts
3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team – 12 pts
4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden – 9 pts
5. Ziwei Xiong (CHN) CTIC China Team – 7 pts
6. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team – 5 pts
7. Ivan Brigada (ITA) Emirates Racing Team – 4 pts
8. Francesco Cantando (ITA)Blaze Performance Team – 3 pts
9. Filip Roms (FIN) Baba Racing – 2 pts
10. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Blaze Performance Team – 1 pt