Team Abu Dhabi heads to the scenic Portuguese Algarve region this week, as Alex Carella attempts to continue the momentum he showed with a famous victory at the Grand Prix of France two weekends ago and Thani Al-Qamzi aims to bounce back from a second successive disappointment in the UIM F1 H2O World Championship.
The Grand Prix of Portugal takes place on the Arade River in Portimão on Sunday (July 31) and the team out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) has the bit between its teeth after Carella’s sensational victory in Evian catapulted the Italian to the top of the Drivers’ Championship and gave Team Abu Dhabi an eight-point advantage in the Teams’ title race. Carella also leads the UIM Pole Position series by three points from two-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe.
The win in France was very hard fought and took everything out of me. I was very tired afterwards. No one lap was easy. The conditions were difficult, with crazy waves, and I was taking risks all the time, especially when me and Shaun (Torrente) were fighting.
Carella won the race in France last year before being deprived of the win with a post-race technicality and now leads this year’s series by 11 points from Torrente.
This year it was our weekend in France. But Shaun will be determined to get his revenge in Portugal and we have already been in contact through social media and both of us are looking forward to what promises to be another great battle.
Torrente may have been the major challenger in Evian, but Carella knows full well that Chiappe – who holds third in the Drivers’ Championship – endured a disappointing weekend at the last round by his exacting standards and the likes of Al-Qamzi, Jonas Andersson, Ahmed Al-Hameli, Erik Stark and Sami Selio all suffered their own bad luck and will be out to avenge their French setbacks.
Team Abu Dhabi’s racing manager Guido Cappellini was happy with the recent result.
Alex, the boat and the engine ran so well in France. I was 90% happy because Thani (Al-Qamzi) broke something and retired. But I know we have the potential to have two drivers on the podium in first and second positions in Portugal.
After F-4S racing was omitted from the racing programme in Evian, Rashed Al-Qamzi and Mohammed Al-Mehairbi return to UIM F-4S Trophy racing action in a pair of 20-minute races that precede BRM F1 Qualifying on Saturday and the main Grand Prix of Portugal on Sunday.
Al-Qamzi is currently tied for the series lead with Ferdinand Zandbergen, after both the Emirati and the Dutchman took a third place and an outright win apiece at the two races in Dubai in March. They are two points clear of Finland’s Kalle Viippo, while Al-Mehairbi suffered his own fair share of disappointment in Dubai and holds ninth place with five points.
Technical scrutineering and administration will take place on Friday morning (July 29) and drivers will be permitted free practice in the afternoon. Further free practice is permitted on Saturday morning and BRM Qualifying will be held at the earlier time of 13.00hrs (16.00hrs UAE time), before the F-4S boats take centre stage for practice, time trials and their first race, starting at 15.20hrs.
The F-4S racing reaches its conclusion on Sunday morning (July 31) with practice, time trials and the second race running between 09.00hrs and 10.20hrs. F1 drivers then return to the course of the Arade River for a final practice session from 10.30hrs and the 2016 UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix of Portugal roars into life at 13.30hrs.
2016 UIM F1H2O World Championship – Drivers’ Championship standings:
- Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi – 35 pts
- Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team – 24 pts
- Philippe Chiappe (FRA) China CTIC Team – 20 pts
- Filip Roms (FIN) Baba Racing – 17 pts
- Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden – 9 pts
- Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick Racing – 9 pts
- Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team – 8 pts
- Ziwei Xiong (CHN) CTIC China Team – 7 pts
- Christophe Larigot (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team – 7 pts
- Marit Stromoy (NOR) EMIC Racing Team – 5 pts