Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al Qemzi is ready for one of the biggest tests of his long powerboat racing career in China this weekend as he chases his dream to win the UIM F1H2O World Championship.
With two qualifying sessions and two Grand Prix being sandwiched into the space of 24 hours and 40 points at stake, Al Qemzi and reigning world champion team-mate Shaun Torrente know the battle for honours could be won and lost in the crucial double header in Xiamen.
Lying third in the title race behind leader Torrente and Sweden’s Jonas Andersson, the vastly experienced Al Qemzi, who made his race debut back in 2000, is determined to end his wait for the world crown, with the final round of the series to follow in Sharjah in December.
I think I can make my dream come true this year because I have a big opportunity to win the world title.
With back to back races like this the biggest worry is that a crash or a mechanical problem could mean goodbye to the title.
But it’s rare for me to crash and I’ve been preparing myself for what’s ahead.
It’s going to be a really tough weekend and we have to be fully focused in the qualifiers and the two races and leave nothing to chance.
The bond between Al Qemzi and Torrente is strong as they fight for the driver’s championship and at the same time look to deliver a second successive world team title to Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.
For me the team comes first and it’s the same for Shaun, and we all work hard together.
But I also have my own ambitions and if I have a chance to win the title I’ll take it.
Like Torrente, Al Qemzi has scored eight Grand Prix victories in his career, along with 38 podium finishes out of 135 race starts. He finished world championship runner-up in 2009 to his current Team Abu Dhabi boss Guido Cappellini.
The dramatic weekend ahead, which sees Saturday’s Grand Prix of Xiamen being followed on Sunday by the Grand Prix of China, was created by the postponement of the Grand Prix of next month’s round in India.
1. Shaun Torrente UAE 35pts
2. Jonas Andersson SWE 32 pts
3. Thani Al Qemzi UAE 27pts
4. Peter Morin FRA 16pts
5. Marit Stromoy SWE 16pts
6. Bartek Marszalek POL 8pts
1. Team Abu Dhabi 62pts
2. Team Amaravati 32pts
3. Emirates Racing 24pts
4. CTIC F1 Shenzhen China 16pts
Tony Lewis, is a former British print and BBC broadcast journalist with more than 40 years’ media and PR experience.