Mixed fortunes for Abu Dhabi
Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al Qamzi will start Grand Prix of Ukraine from seventh position after a thrilling qualifying session on the Kiev Sea course on Friday afternoon.
But teammate and championship leader Ahmed Al Hameli will face a race against time to be ready for action after flipping his boat near the end of the Q3 session, a press release said.
Al Hameli, bidding to defend an eight-point lead in the 2012 UIM F1 H20 World Championship, swapped lap times with his Qatar Team rivals Alex Carella and Shaun Torrente throughout the day and was faced with having to beat Sami Selio’s time of 51.88s to secure pole position. But he flipped his boat at high-speed and will now start behind his main rivals.
Al Qamzi was not able to post a top three time and will start the race from seventh position, with former World Champion Selio on pole and the Qatar boats in second and third.
Team Abu Dhabi runs under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) with support from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA). Salem Al Romaithi acts as the team head and works alongside team manager Scott Gillman. Etihad Airways is the official carrier for Team Abu Dhabi.
Only two of the 17 boats would be eliminated in Q1 and Al Hameli all but confirmed his place in Q2 with a stunning early lap of 53.88s. Al Qamzi slotted into fifth behind his teammate, the two Qatar boats and Finland’s Sami Selio and the Team Abu Dhabi pair finished Q1 in the same positions. Brett Stuart and Rinaldo Osculati were eliminated.
Five of the surviving 15 boats would disappear after Q2. Al Hameli posted his intentions from the outset with a potent lap of 54.39s to storm to the top of the leader board and virtually assure his place in Q3. Al Qamzi also confirmed his place in Q3 in eighth, but Ivan Brigada, Filip Roms, Marit Stromoy, Duarte Benavente and Jonas Andersson were all eliminated.
Italy’s Francesco Cantando posted the early target time of 55 seconds but Al Qamzi was not able to sneak inside the Italian’s time and posted a 55.58s lap. Kuwaiti Yousef Al Rubayan moved into the provisional pole with a second lap of 53.83s, as six drivers waited to take part in the shoot-out.
Phillipe Chiappe and Stanislav Kourtsenovsky were not able to make inroads into Al Rubayan’s time, but Sami Selio produced a stunning lap of 51.88s to secure provisional pole with just three drivers still to run. Torrente and Carella were not able to match the Finn and Al Hameli’s accident put paid to his chances of claiming pole.
Al Hameli and Al Qamzi set the second and sixth quickest times in the morning’s free practice session, with the series leader clocking a best lap of 49.11s.
2012 Grand Prix of Ukraine:
1. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 51.88s
2. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 52.42s
3. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 52.64s
4. Yousef Al-Rubayan (KUW) F1 Atlantic Team 53.83s
5. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 54.84s
6. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 55.00s
7. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 55.58s
8. Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) CTIC China Team 55.65s
9. Phillipe Tourre (FRA) F1 Atlantic Team 57.27s
10. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi DNF
2012 UIM F1 H20 Pole Position Championship – standings after round 3
1. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team 42 pts
2. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team 35 pts
3. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 32 pts
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1 32 pts
5. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team 21 pts
6. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 16 pts
6. Yousef Al-Rabayan (KUW) F1 Atlantic Team 16 pts
8. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team 10 pts