Tobias Munthe-Kaas and Pierre Lundin were the only two drivers to break the 45-second barrier in the free practice session on Saturday morning, the Norwegian topping the times with a lap of 44.66sec. Rashed Al-Qemzi was an impressive third quickest in 45.09sec and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi ran for 21 laps and was 23rd of the 24 starters.
Qualifying was planned for three sessions on Saturday evening, but bad weather and poor visibility put a spanner in those arrangements and Q1 was delayed by two hours. Drivers were eventually split into two groups of 12 and Al-Qemzi was comfortably the quickest in the first 20-minute Group A session from Konstantin Ustinov, Tobias Munthe-Kaas, Lundin and Nick Bisterfeld.
Matt Palfreyman lost a propeller on lap one and this prevented the Briton from posting a time in a Group B session that was won by Erik Edin with a lap of 42.99sec from Rupert Temper, Edgaras Riabko, David Del Pin and Alberto Comparato. Al-Mehairbi missed out on Q2 with a fastest lap of 47.11sec that put him in 10th position.
The fastest 11 boats (Oskar Samuelsson missed the Q2 session) then lined up in a setting sun for Q2 and only six would be permitted into a six-boat Q3 shoot-out in fading light. Lundin hit the front with an early lap of 41.73sec from Edin, Munthe-Kaas, Al-Qemzi, Bisterfeld and Ola Pettersson, but the session was yellow-flagged when Spaniard Héctor Sanz López spun out after six minutes after an incident involving Konstantin Ustinov.
Racing resumed with four minutes remaining, but Lundin held on to claim the fastest lap, as the leading six drivers held station. The shoot-out was postponed until Sunday morning on safety grounds with Lundin, Edin, Munthe-Kaas, Al-Qemzi, Bisterfeld and Pettersson making it through.
Photo: Per Bonde