Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella has the perfect opportunity to extend his advantage in the 2017 UIM F1 H2O World Championship when he and team-mates Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi take part in this weekend’s Grand Prix of Liuzhou on the Lui River in China.
Three-time World Champion Carella (2011, 2012 and 2013) currently leads the six-round series by eight points after three races and knows that a podium finish would enhance his chance of winning a first driver’s title with the team running under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC).
Team Sweden’s Erik Stark – a four-time F2 World Champion – led from pole position to secure his first ever victory in F1 in Harbin last month and the Swede is now tied in third position in the points’ standings with defending champion Philippe Chiappe of France. Two-time World Champion Sami Selio is Carella’s closest rival on 30 points, despite not finishing the last race in China.
“I start to think of the championship now and not winning each of the races,” said a determined Carella. “In Harbin, Sami (Selio) and Shaun (Torrente) retired and I decided to settle for my fourth position. It was a good result for me and for Team Abu Dhabi. Now the outcome is in our hands. We will take each race as it comes.”
Thani Al-Qemzi is one of the most experienced racers on the F1 H2O scene and the Emirati holds sixth in the championship standings. He knows that victory in Liuzhou could catapult him into contention for the title as well, although his and Carella’s joint success so far this season means that Team Abu Dhabi heads to Liuzhou with a 19-point advantage over Team Sweden in the UIM Teams’ Championship.
Rashed Al-Qemzi drives the third boat and is enjoying mixed results on his first foray into F1 racing after winning last year’s F4-S Trophy title. The talented young Emirati faces two of the most important weeks of his career as well: he will head straight to Portugal after the Grand Prix of Liuzhou to try and clinch a maiden UIM F2 World Championship in Ribadouro.
“We are entering a crucial part of the season and the next two weeks could well map out our successes this year,” said Al-Remeithi. “The team is well prepared and we are looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.”
The weekend’s timetable gets underway with technical scrutineering and registration on Friday (September 29), followed by free practice for the F1 and F4 boats in the afternoon.
2017 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – positions after round 3:
1. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 38pts
2. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing 30pts
3. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Sweden 27pts
3. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 27pts
5. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 21pts
6. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 20pts
7. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 14pts
8. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 12pts
8. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 12pts
10. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Blaze Performance Team 11pts, etc
2017 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Trophy – positions after round 3:
1. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Sweden 32pts
1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 32pts
3. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 31pts
4. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 29pts
5. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 27pts
6. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 24pts
7. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing 17pts
8. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team 7pts
9. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts
2017 UIM F4-S Trophy – latest positions:
1. Mansoor Al-Mansoori (UAE) Emirates Racing Team 44pts
2. Jeremy Brisset (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team 43pts
3. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 34pts
4. Kalle Viippo (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing 24pts
5. Louise Vella (AUS) Team Sweden 18pts
6. Mohamed Al-Yamahi (UAE) Victory Team 16pts
7. Sebastien Haugaard (SWE) Team Sweden 15pts
8. Corentin Guesnel (FRA) Maverick F1 13pts
9. Damon Cohen (AUS) Blaze Performance 8pts
10. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team 7pts