Frenchman Chiappe needs a top 10 finish to deprive Victory’s Torrente of possible title
Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella returns from Italy bidding to win Pole Position Championship
Team Abu Dhabi will be aiming to round off another successful season in world power boating by winning the F1 H2O grand prix and the two F4-S races at this weekend’s final round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship on Khaled Lagoon in Sharjah.
Fresh from finishing third in the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi and claiming a first ever UIM F4-S Championship title, the team out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) travels the short distance through Dubai to the third largest of the emirates determined to wrap up the season in winning style.
While Alex Carella and Thani Al-Thani will be aiming for the top step of the podium in the main race on Friday afternoon, Frenchman Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team stands within one point of winning the drivers’ world title for the third year in a row. He leads Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente by 19 points and knows that his American rival has to win the race outright to claim 20 points and is relying on Chiappe not finishing inside the top 10.
Torrente also finds himself locked in a four-way battle for the runner-up spot in the championship. He currently leads Abu Dhabi race winner Jonas Andersson of Team Sweden by six points, with Team Abu Dhabi’s Carella and Finland’s Sami Selio tied in fourth, three points behind the Swede. There are numerous permutations for how the race will pan out, but if history is anything to go by, it promises to be a scintillating end to the season.
Carella drove a brave race last Friday to snatch the final podium place from a slowing Torrente and it’s been a traumatic week for the talented Abu Dhabi driver. He left the UAE within hours of the finish of the race to return to Italy to spend time with close family following the death of his father. The Italian returns to the scene of one of his greatest World Championship ‘triumphs’ in determined and focused mood. The collision he had with Jay Price at the first turn buoy of the 2011 Grand Prix of Sarah – to claim the world title for the first time in dramatic circumstances – was one of the most memorable incidents in recent F1 H2O racing history.
Carella is also a firm favourite to win this year’s UIM H2O Pole Position Championship. He takes a five-point lead over Chiappe into BRM Qualifying on Thursday afternoon. Team mate Thani Al-Qamzi, meanwhile, has endured a difficult few races and the Emirati is due some better fortune on the last race of the season.
Etihad Airways is the official carrier for Team Abu Dhabi that is also supported by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and runs under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, advisor to the Head of State and chairman of the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) and under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, Vice-President and CEO of the ADIMSC. The racing team runs under the auspices of the ADIMSC and board member and assistant general manager Salem Al-Romeithi and racing manager and 10-time world champion Guido Cappellini.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi clinched the UIM F4-S Championship last Friday on home waters and the talented Emirati will be looking to wrap up a superb season with a pair of victories in the two 20-minute F4-S races on Thursday and Friday. He has been the class act in the prestigious feeder series to the F1 H2O Championship and arrives in Sharjah with a 51-point lead over Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen. Abu Dhabi team mate Mohammed Al-Mehairbi holds seventh in the drivers’ points standings and a top finish for the Emirati would confirm the F4-S Teams’ title for the ADIMSC-based team.
Winning the second race in Abu Dhabi and securing the championship was a special moment for me and I would like to thank H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, everyone at the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club and all my team for making it possible for me to achieve that goal. Now the focus is on enjoying the weekend, winning the last two races and ending the year in style.
After technical scrutineering and the option to carry out un-timed free practice on the five-pin course on Wednesday afternoon, action gets underway with timed practice and F4-S timed trials on Thursday morning. The first of the two 20-minute F4-S races begins at 2.30pm and the first of the three BRM Qualifying sessions takes centre stage at 3.30pm.
Further free practice is permitted on Friday morning and the second F4-S race, starting at 2pm, precedes the 2016 Grand Prix of Sharjah, scheduled for a live web stream on www.f1h2o.com at 4pm.
Timetable of events
Wednesday, December 14
10.00-17.00 Technical scrutineering
15.00-17.00 Extra free practice
Thursday, December 15
09.00-10.20 F4-S free practice
09.30-09.50 F4-S time trials
10.15-11.15 F1 free practice
14.30 F4-S race 1
15.30 BRM F1 qualifying
Friday, December 16
09.10-09.30 F4-S free practice
09.40-10.00 F4-S time trials
10.15-11.15 F1 free practice
14.00 F4-S race 2
16.00 Grand Prix of Sharjah
2016 UIM F1H2O World Championship – Drivers’ Championship standings:
1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 82 pts
2. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 63 pts
3. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 57 pts
4. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 54 pts
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing 54 pts
6. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Emirates Racing Team 25 pts
7. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing 22 pts
7. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 22 pts
9. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Racing Team 19 pts
10. Marit Stromoy (NOR) EMIC Racing Team 15 pts, etc
2016 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – current standings:
1. Alex Carella (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 73 pts
2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 68 pts
3. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Racing Team 58 pts
4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 49 pts
4. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing 49 pts
6. Shaun Torrente (USA) Victory Team 43 pts
7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Emirates Racing Team 39 pts
8. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad Croc Baba Racing 15 pts
9. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 14 pts
2016 UIM F4-S Trophy – latest positions:
1. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 155 pts
2. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NLD) Baba Racing 104 pts
3. Kalle Viippo (FIN) Team Sweden 89 pts
4. Jeremy Brisset (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team 82 pts
5. Bingchen Wu (CHN) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 64 pts
6. Mohamed Al-Yamahi (UAE) Victory Team 61 pts
7. Mohammed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 58 pts
8. Tom Chiappe (FRA) EMIC Racing Team 41 pts
9. Magnus Sederholm (FIN) Team Sweden 35 pts
10. Mansoor Al-Mansoori (UAE) Emirates Racing Team 22 pts
11. Ali Bin Shaiban (UAE) Emirates Racing Team 19 pts
12. Paolo Longhi (ITA) Blaze Performance Team 16 pts
13. Sigitas Mickus (LTU) Team Sweden 2 pts