Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella will be hoping to bounce back strongly from his spectacular accident in Harbin last month, when he tackles this weekend’s Grand Prix of Liuzhou, round five of the 2016 UIM F1 H2O World Championship, on the Liu River in China.
The former leader of the Drivers’ Championship lost ground on his main rivals by failing to pick up any points on Harbin’s Hulan Estuary Wetland Park course and knows that a podium finish is an absolute must on the Liu River if he is to remain in title contention heading to the final two rounds of the series in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in December.
Following Carella’s retirement in Harbin and team-mate Thani Al-Qamzi’s disqualification from 10th position for a lane violation at the start of the first of the two back-to-back Chinese races, Team Abu Dhabi has also lost ground on the CTIC China Team, Baba Racing and the Victory Team in the UIM F1 H2O Teams’ Championship. Carella does, however, lead the UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship by 15 points.
The crash has made me more determined than ever to get back on track with the win in Liuzhou. My job is in the cockpit of the racing boat. I am focused, fit and counting the hours to the start.
Five drivers have moved clear of the chasing pack and are clear favourites to win the 2016 world title. Defending double World Champion Philippe Chiappe tops the points with 52 and currently lies seven clear of Shaun Torrente of the Victory Team. Carella (42 points) is a further three adrift in third, after failing to score in Harbin, and the in-form former double World Champion, Sami Selio of Finland, leapt into contention with victory in Harbin and is a further seven behind Carella. Second position in Harbin for Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson has moved the Scandinavian into a clear fifth place on 33 points.
Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) said;
We suffered our set back in Harbin, but our drivers are strong and determined individuals and Alex is fit and determined to redress the balance with a race win in Liuzhou. Thani also failed to add to our points’ tally in Harbin and knows that he needs to finish as high as possible to lift Team Abu Dhabi back into contention for the Teams’ title.
Carella, 31, is a triple World Champion and has an impressive record in the People’s Republic, having won four times in just nine starts and three times in his last five Grand Prix. Chiappe won the race on the Liu River last year on his way to a second title and Al-Qamzi was a fine second for Team Abu Dhabi. Carella and Al-Qamzi were first and third overall in 2014, first and fourth in 2013 and first and second in 2012. Al-Qamzi led a Team Abu Dhabi 1-2 with Ahmed Al-Hameli in 2011.