Rashed Al-Qamzi and Rashed Al-Tayer came up just short in their valiant attempt to secure a record-breaking fourth UIM H2O Nations Cup title for Team UAE on Shanghai’s Dishui Lake on Thursday afternoon.
Two yellow flag incidents in the first of two 25-lap Sprint races meant that the Emirati duo had insufficient laps to mount a charge for the podium and this gave the initiative to Team Russia, as Team UAE became embroiled in a tussle with Team USA to fight it out for second place in the second Sprint race.
Team Russia’s Roman Vandyshev led from the start of the yellow flag interrupted opening race to edge out Team Australia’s Corey Davoll. But veteran American drivers, Jay Price and Scott Gillman, were the main beneficiaries and third and fourth places moved Team USA into contention to topple Team UAE and snatch second place.
Vandyshev controlled the second race and was supported by a fifth-placed finish for Andrey Panyushkin to confirm the UIM H2O Nations Cup title for the Russians. Third and sixth positions for Price and Gillman was enough to pip Team UAE to the runner-up spot by a single point after Al-Qamzi and Al-Tayer finished fourth and seventh in race two.
“It was another exciting weekend of racing, but we came up just short against strong competition,” said Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC). “The UIM H2O Nations Cup is a team event and an excellent racing format. Both Rashed Al-Qamzi and Rashed Al-Tayer gave their best and we will come back next year and try to win back the UIM H2O Nations Cup.”
Sprint Race 1
Fifteen boats lined up for the first of the two Sprint Races over 25 laps, with Al-Tayer and Al-Qamzi lining up in seventh and 10th positions and Team Russia’s Vandyshev heading out in front from pole position. The Russian held his line and the lead, as Davoll and Price followed in his wake and the Team UAE duo settled into ninth and 10th.
The leaders held station until a yellow flag was raised on lap four when Team Australia’s Brock Cohen spun out of contention. His demise lifted Al-Qamzi and Al-Tayer to seventh and eighth, but the Emirati duo knew that they needed to close in on the Russian duo when racing resumed on lap nine.
Vandyshev maintained his lead after the restart from Davoll and Price, although Scott Gillman passed Andrey Panyushkin to snatch fourth for Team USA. Al-Qamzi overtook Team Germany’s Jorn Lassig on lap 11 and climbed to sixth place. With 10 laps to go, Vandyshev led Davoll by 1.77 seconds from Price and Gillman, but a second yellow was raised on lap 18 when Roberto Do Piano of Team Italy collided with a turn buoy. Both Ni Haojun and do Piano retired their Team China and Team Italy boats, the latter after he hit the turn buoy and was disqualified.
Unfortunately, the race finished under the yellow flag with the turn buoy still not in position and Vandyshev held on to claim maximum points for Team Russia, with Davoll in second for Australia and Price and Gillman finishing third and fourth for Team USA. Al-Qamzi and Al-Tayer finished sixth and eighth for Team UAE, as Team China’s Ziwei Xiong was given a one-lap penalty for being in the wrong position after a yellow flag.
Sprint Race 2
Team Russia headed into the second 25-lap Sprint race with a 12-point lead over Team UAE and a 14-point advantage over Team USA. It was all to play for, but a good start was crucial for both Al-Qamzi and Al-Tayer. Boats left the start pontoon in the order that they had finished the previous race and that gave Team Russia a big advantage with Vandyshev and Panyushkin lining up in first and fifth positions. Brock Cohen was not able to start for Team Australia after his first race incident.
The Russian maintained his lead from the start, but Al-Qamzi managed to overtake Gillman to snatch fifth place. The Emirati was now on a charge and he began to pressurise Panyushkin and soon gained fourth place.
Vandyshev maintained his lead from Davoll, Price and Al-Qamzi through eight laps and the fact that Panyushkin held fifth kept Team Russia in prime position to clinch the UIM H2O Nations Cup. Gillman began to slow and slipped to ninth place and Jorn Lassig and Alffian Kadri were forced to retire with technical issues.
The top four continued to edge clear of fifth-placed Panyushkin, as Team Russia remained on course to retain their UIM H2O Nations Cup title. Gillman continued to head Al-Tayer in the tight contest for the runner-up spot.
There were no late dramas for Team Russia, however, and Vandyshev held on to claim victory from Davoll by just 0.68 seconds, as Team USA pipped Team UAE to second position by a single point.
Team China’s Ziwei Xiong and Team Australia’s Corey Davoll topped the practice times on Thursday morning with the identical lap of 43.53 seconds. Al-Qamzi and Al-Tayer ran for just four and five laps to get their set-up on track and carded lap times of 43.95 seconds and 46.54 seconds
UIM H2O Bund Holding Group Nations Cup – Race 1 result
1. Roman Vandyshev (Team Russia) 25 laps
2. Corey Davoll (Team Australia) @1.25sec
3. Jay Price (Team USA) @2.28sec
4. Scott Gillman (Team USA) @5.53sec
5. Andrei Panyushkin (Team Russia) @6.28sec
6. Rashed Al-Qamzi (Team UAE) @7.30sec
7. Jorn Lassig (Team Germany) @9.81sec
8. Rashed Al-Tayer (Team UAE) @11.62sec
9. Dieter Kaiser (Team Germany) ` @12.28sec
10. Mohammad Affendey Kadri (Team Malaysia) @13.23sec
11. Ziwei Xiong (Team China) L1
12. Alffian Kadri (Team Malaysia) L3
Roberto do Piano (Team Italy) DSQ
Ni Haojun (Team China) RET
Brock Cohen (Team Australia) RET
UIM H2O Bund Holding Group Nations Cup – Race 2 result
1. Roman Vandyshev (Team Russia) 25 laps
2. Corey Davoll (Team Australia) @0.68sec
3. Jay Price (Team USA) @1.60sec
4. Rashed Al-Qamzi (Team UAE) @12.36sec
5. Andrei Panyushkin (Team Russia) @27.79sec
6. Scott Gillman (Team USA) @30.00sec
7. Rashed Al-Tayer (Team UAE) @32.83sec
8. Mohammad Affendey Kadri (Team Malaysia) @38.93sec
9. Roberto do Piano (Team Italy) L1
10. Dieter Kaiser (Team Germany) ` L5
Ziwei Xiong (Team China) RET
Alffian Kadri (Team Malaysia) DNF
Jorn Lassig (Team Germany) DNF
Ni Haojun (Team China) DNS
Brock Cohen (Team Australia) DNS
UIM H2O Bund Holding Group Nations Cup – result (unofficial):
1. Team Russia 120 pts
2. Team USA 100 pts
3. Team UAE 99 pts
4. Team Australia 77 pts
5. Team Germany 62 pts
6. Team Malaysia 47 pts
7. Team China 28 pts
8. Team Italy 19 pts