Shaun Torrente and Thani Al-Qemzi sized each other up like a pair of old heavyweight boxers in the early exchanges in extra free practice before they slugged it out in the afternoon’s BRM Qualifying session.
The American claimed the first round with a best time of 46.68sec in the first 15 minutes, with Al-Qemzi only 0.18 seconds behind in second.
Erik Stark sat out the first half of the stint where Jonas Andersson, Peter Morin and Alex Carella were the Team Abu Dhabi duo’s closest challengers.
An accident for Andersson forced the yellow flag to delay proceedings and enabled Stark to enter the course and benefit from clean water.
I have no idea what happened, the boat just suddenly got away from me.
The damage is cosmetic and I hope we can get away without changing the engine.
He slotted into second with a 46.76sec lap with over 15 minutes to run.
Al-Qemzi returned to the hot seat in the closing minutes to post the best time of 46.60sec to further ramp up the heat before the second round of practice in the early afternoon, as Stark closed to within 0.02 of Torrente’s quickest time.
Stark then claimed the quickest lap of 46.08sec with four minutes to go and held on to win the session.
Less than one second separated the top six with Bartek Marszalek impressing in fourth place.
1st) Erik Stark 0:46.09
2nd) Thani Al Qemzi 0:46.60 + 0.51
3rd) Shaun Torrente 0:46.68 + 0.59
4th) Bartek Marszalek 0:46.75 + 0.66
5th) Alex Carella 0:46.92 + 0.83
6th) Sami Selio 23 0:47.04 + 0.95