Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qemzi created a little piece of history by becoming the first Arab driver ever to win the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.
The Emirati snatched the lead on the first lap and held off a fierce challenge from Frenchman Peter Morin to seal the win by 0.91 seconds at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Saturday afternoon.
An overwhelmed Al-Qemzi, shrouded by VIPs, well-wishers and media in the pits, said:
I made a good start and I went far away from everyone and I keep a little bit away – I kept my line.
My boat was strong and I felt relaxed and I pushed hard from that.
The last five laps, I see that he (Morin) stay behind me and then I go very fast.
Insha’allah, next week I do the same.
This is my country. I have always been nervous here and never had any favours and now I made it.
This is a fantastic win for the whole team. We are all so happy.
Team Manager Guido Cappellini said after the race:
After 18 years, Thani has won the race in our home.
It has been an important day because we have won the Teams’ World Championship.
The Drivers’ Championship is not closed. Now in Sharjah it will be one incredible game for our three drivers.
The first goal today was to win the Teams’ Championship and now we can focus on next weekend.