Team Abu Dhabi will be hoping to bounce back from Portuguese disappointment when Alex Carella and Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi tackle the 21st Grand Prix of France, round two of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship, at Evian-les-Bains in France on Sunday.
A series of engine issues wrecked the team out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club’s (ADIMSC) chances of winning the opening storm-affected round on the Arada River in southern Portugal and a hard-earned fourth place for Carella was scant reward for pre-season preparations and a dedicated all-round team effort.
Team Abu Dhabi will be hoping that those engine issues are firmly ensconced in history when the trio bid to chase down defending World Champion and Portugal race winner Philippe Chiappe on Lac Leman. Chiappe began his defence with a maximum 20-point haul; Carella trails by 11 points and follows Sami Selio and Duarte Benavente in pursuit of the Frenchman.
Team Abu Dhabi has been concentrating on F2 racing since the Portuguese F1 opener and impressive lap times in an endurance race in Rouen were followed by a stunning opening F2 race win for Rashed Al-Qemzi in Lithuania. Crews also carried out a small test session last week.
Twenty boats are expected to challenge for honours in Evian, a venue where Carella was victorious in 2016 from Finland’s Filip Roms and Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente. Maverick F1 Racing has also confirmed that they will run a third boat on this occasion for Beranger Robart, who was runner-up in the 2007 F4 Championship and French F2 champion the following year. He joins Cédric Deguisne and Amaury Jousseaume in the all-French team.
Salem Al-Remeithi, general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) said;
It’s been over two and a half months since the last round of the championship in Portugal and that has given everyone in the team a chance to reflect and make sure that we get things right in France.
It was a disappointing start, but these things can happen in racing and now we want to bounce back with a victory. Rashed is confident after his F2 success in Lithuania and Alex and Thani have the experience and the speed to achieve a top result.
Unpredictable weather conditions have been a feature of the race on Europe’s highest Alpine lake in the past and the timetable of events gets underway with scrutineering and administration checks on Friday morning (June 30) and a one-hour free practice session in the afternoon. There will be no F4-S racing action in Evian.
There will be another one hour of free practice on Saturday morning before the BRM Qualifying sessions take centre stage from 16.20hrs (18.20 UAE time).
Further free practice is permitted on Sunday morning and the 21st Grand Prix of France is scheduled for 15.00hrs (17.00hrs UAE time) on Sunday afternoon.