Team Abu Dhabi resumes its challenge for honours in the prestigious UIM F1 H2O World Championship, when Alex Carella and Thani Al-Qamzi represent the team out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Harbin (September 2-4) in north-eastern China.
Just days after sending a team to a round of the UIM F2 Championship in Lithuania, Team Abu Dhabi heads straight to Asia, where Carella hopes to defend his slender two-point lead in the championship and stay on course to give the ADIMSC a long awaited UIM F1 H2O world title.
Situated in the northernmost area of the People’s Republic of China, the new addition to H2O Racing’s F1 calendar will take place at the Hulan Estuary Wetland Park, with the race scheduled to start at 3pm local time (07.00 am GMT time) on Sunday afternoon.
The last few races in this highly competitive series have been thrilling spectacles and Carella managed to overcome a technical issue at the last race in Portugal to coax his DAC over the line in fifth place and remain two points clear of the double World Champion, Philippe Chiappe, and a further four in front of the talented American driver Shaun Torrente of Dubai’s Victory Team.
These three drivers have edged clear of the rest of the field over the course of the first three rounds of the series in Dubai, France and Portugal, but Carella knows full well that several other drivers, including team-mate Thani Al-Qamzi, Sami Selio, Jonas Andersson, Erik Stark and Ahmed Al-Hameli, are more than capable of springing a surprise in Harbin and snatching points from the leading trio.
Al-Qamzi set some excellent lap times at the last race and the second of the Team Abu Dhabi drivers will be hoping for better fortune as the F1 H2O series heads east for two races in China, before returning to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah for the final two races in the calendar in December.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi currently leads the UIM F-4S feeder championship standings by five points from Finland’s Kalle Viippo and the Emirati will be hoping to keep up his run of superb form as well. Team-mate Mohammed Al-Mehairbi holds eighth in the rankings heading to Harbin, but should be able to benefit from valuable boat time at last weekend’s F2 race in Lithuania, where he finished one place behind Rashed Al-Qamzi in 10th overall.
Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) said;
The race in Harbin is the start of a series of important Asian races for the team. Alex and Thani were particularly impressive at the last race and Alex is very well placed to continue his success and extend his lead in the World Championship in China.
We are chasing title success on several fronts.
Alex and Thani are battling for honours in the main F1 H2O series, where we are also challenging for the Teams’ title, but Rashed Al-Qamzi has already proved this year that he is the man to beat in F4-S and we hope that he can continue to deliver the results over the remaining races.
Harbin is the capital and largest city of the Heilongjiang province in the northeast of the country. It is notorious for its bitterly cold winters and has the alternative name of the Ice City. It sits on the southern bank of the middle Songhua River and is the centre for winter sports in China, having hosted the 1996 Asian Winter Games.
After technical scrutineering and documentation on Friday morning, the F1 and F4-S competitors will be permitted their own free practice sessions from 14.00hrs. Further free practice and time trials for the F4-S boats are followed by a second F1 free practice session from 10.30hrs on Saturday morning. The first of the two F4-S races is scheduled for 13.30hrs and BRM Qualifying is due to start at 15.00hrs.
After more practice on Sunday morning, the second of the F4-S races is pencilled in for 11.10hrs and the Grand Prix of Harbin takes centre stage on the Hulan Estuary Wetland Park course from 3pm local time (07.00 am GMT time).
2016 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – current standings:
1. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi – 47 pts
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team – 41 pts
3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team – 29 pts
3. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Racing Team – 29 pts
5. Sami Selio (FIN) Baba Racing – 20 pts
6. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden – 17 pts
7. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi – 14 pts
8. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Emirates Racing Team – 7 pts
2016 UIM F4-S Trophy – positions after race 4:
1. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi – 67 pts
2. Kalle Viippo (FIN) Team Sweden – 62 pts
3. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NLD) Baba Racing – 59 pts
4. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC F1 China Team – 36 pts
5. Mohamed Al-Yamahi (UAE) Victory Team – 26 pts
6. Tom Chiappe (FRA) EMIC Racing Team – 16 pts
7. Ali Bin Shaiban (UAE) Emirates Racing Team – 15 pts
8. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi – 9 pts
8. Paolo Longhi (ITA) Blaze Performance Team – 8 pts
10. Jeremy Brisset (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team – 7 pts