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F1H2o Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi Preview

Team Abu Dhabi faces one of the most important and potentially lucrative races in its history when the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) hosts this weekend’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, the penultimate round of the 2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship.

The team has dominated this year’s championship thus far and team drivers Shaun Torrente, Erik Stark and Thani Al-Qemzi head into the weekend’s action holding the top three places in the Drivers’ Championship.

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Team Abu Dhabi has a massive 53-point advantage in the UIM Teams’ Championship and Stark leads Torrente by seven points in the Pole Position Championship.

Mathematically, all three titles could be sewn up on the challenging 1.973km race course at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater by Saturday afternoon, although it is more likely that Team Abu Dhabi will clinch the Teams’ series for the third time in four years and the outcome of both the Drivers’ and Pole titles will go down to the wire in Sharjah on December 15th.

A pair of 1-2-3 finishes and a 1-3 outcome in Amaravati last month has put the Emirati team in a superb position.

Team Abu Dhabi drivers have won all five rounds of the series so far this year and claimed 11 of the 15 available podium places.

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The silverware is not just restricted to Team Abu Dhabi drivers, however, and a race win for fourth-placed Peter Morin (above) of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team would keep the Frenchman in the hunt provided that Torrente didn’t finish inside the top five.

Morin’s team-mate, three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe, holds fifth in the title race and needs at least two race wins to stand any chance of winning the championship for a fourth time.

There are several drivers more than capable of springing a surprise and spoiling the Abu Dhabi party on home waters.

Defending champion and four-time World Champion Alex Carella of the Victory Team and his team-mate Ahmed Al-Hameli are sure to be quick in qualifying and have the pace to stave off the Abu Dhabi onslaught.

They have also been testing in the build up to the race.

Marit Strømøy (above) of the Emirates Racing Team finished second in India last month and very nearly upstaged Torrente to claim pole position on the Krishna River, while Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson and Finland’s Sami Selio will be pushing hard.

Nineteen drivers are expected to take the start of the weekend’s racing.

After free practice on Thursday afternoon, teams will tackle BRM qualifying on Friday and the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi is scheduled for 15.30hrs on Saturday afternoon. (see weekend’s timetable below).

Spectators are welcome to attend at the Abu Dhabi Corniche free of charge from 14.00hrs each day over race weekend. The ADIMSC has laid on trade stalls, refreshments and catering stands, childrens’ and family activities and live entertainment to entertain the crowds between the races.

2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – standings after round 5:

1. Shaun Torrente (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 72pts

2. Erik Stark (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 65pts

3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 54pts

4. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 39pts

5. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 34pts

6. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 26pts

7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 18pts

7. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati 18pts

9. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati 14pts

10. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 10pts

11. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 9pts

12. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 7pts

13. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts

13. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts

15. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team 4pts

15. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 4pts

16. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team 3pts

17. Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team 2pts

18. Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) Maverick F1 Team 1pt

2018 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – standings after round 5:

1. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Abu Dhabi 67pts

2. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi 60pts

3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 45pts

4. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 42pts

5. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 24pts

6. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 21pts

7. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 20pts

8. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Amaravati 19pts

9. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 14pts

10. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team 12pts

11. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 9pts

12. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati 7pts

2018 F4 Trophy – positions after race 8:

1. Max Stilz (DEU) Blaze Performance 87pts

2. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 86pts

3. Sam Whittle (GBR) F1 Atlantic Team 70pts

4. Tom Chiappe (FRA) Emirates Racing Team 65pts

5. Ahmed Al-Fahim (UAE) Victory Team 63pts

6. Wu Bingchen (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team 40pts

7. Pedro Fortuna (PRT) Team Sweden 35pts

8. Alexander Lindholm (FIN) Team Amaravati 29pts

9. Ben Jelf (GBR) Team Amaravati 27pts

10. Rudolf Mihaldinecz (HUN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 22pts

11. Xavier Autard (FRA) Maverick Racing 21pts

12. Quentin Dailly (FRA) Maverick Racing 17pts

13. Camille Broutechoux (FRA) Maverick Racing 8pts

14. Joris Colleret (FRA) Maverick Racing 7pts

15. Louise Vella (AUS) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 5pts

16. Ian Gonsalves (GUY) Maverick Racing 3pts

Timetable of events

Thursday, December 6

08.00-15.00 Technical scrutineering

15.00-17.00 Extra free practice

Friday, December 7

09.10-09.30 F4 free practice

09.40-10.00 F4 time trials

10.15-11.15 F1 free practice

14.00 F4 race 1

15.30 BRM F1 qualifying

Saturday, December 8

09.10-09.30 F4 free practice

09.40-10.00 F4 time trials

10.15-11.15 F1 free practice

14.00 F4 race 2

15.30 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

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