Team Abu Dhabi's Al-Hameli and Al-Qamzi  Tatarstan GP qualifying

Team Abu Dhabi's Al-Hameli and Al-Qamzi Tatarstan GP qualifying

22.06.2012: 2012 UIM F1 H20 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Grand Prix of Tatarstan – June 21-23 - First career pole position for Qatar Team’s Shaun Torrente


Grand Prix of Tatarstan – June 21-23


- First career pole position for Qatar Team’s Shaun Torrente

- Team Abu Dhabi’s Mohamed Al-Mehairbi finishes fifth in F-4S race

- Ahmed Al-Hameli sets fastest lap of 43.59s in first official practice

Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli and Thani Al-Qamzi qualified in third and fifth positions for Saturday afternoon’s Grand Prix of Tatarstan, round two of the 2012 UIM F1 H20 World Championship, on the Nizhny Kaban Lake in Kazan.

The Emirati duo were on a competitive pace throughout Friday afternoon’s three qualifying sessions, but just fell short of the Q3 shoot-out times set by the Qatar Team’s Shaun Torrente and World Champion Alex Carella. Torrente duly recorded the first pole of his career, but the Team Abu Dhabi duo is handily placed to redress the balance in the race itself.

Emirati Mohamed Al-Mehairbi missed the first practice session in the F-4S category and eventually qualified in sixth position for the 20-minute race in which he finished fifth. England’s Matthew Palfreyman of the Atlantic Team led from the start to the chequered flag to continue his 100% winning start to the season after three races.

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, with the team running under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan.

Qualifying and practice

Team Abu Dhabi joined 16 other boats for the first of three qualifying sessions and the slowest three would be eliminated in the first 20 minutes. Al-Hameli laid down the gauntlet in the first five minutes with a quickest lap of 45.28s and Al-Qamzi slotted into fifth place before slipping to sixth at the halfway point. Al-Hameli was overtaken by Carella and Chiappe with eight minutes of the session remaining.

Al-Qamzi and Torrente were the first two racers under 45 seconds for a practice lap and the Emirati slotted into second position behind the American, with Al-Hameli holding sixth place when a yellow flag incident stopped racing with 20 minutes to run. Al-Hameli hit the front after the restart with a lap of 43.59s and held on to the finish of the session to record the fastest time.

Al-Qamzi was classified in sixth behind his team-mate, Chiappe, Selio and the two Qatar boats. Jonas Andersson clinched the session, the Team Abu Dhabi duo finished fourth and eighth, but Filip Roms and the Caudwell Racing duo of Brett Stuart and Ivan Brigada were eliminated.

Five of the 15 boats would leave the fray in blustery conditions in Q2 and Al-Hameli made the perfect start with a lap of 43.98s. Al-Qamzi was safe in fourth behind Chiappe and Cantando, but slipped to ninth late in the session and eventually finished in sixth, with Al-Hameli claiming the fastest time. Rinaldo Osculati, Valerio Lagianella, Yousef Al-Rubayan, Phillipe Tourre and Stanislav Kourtsenovsky were eliminated.

The 10 survivors ran for two laps each in a shoot-out and Duarte Benavente set the early target of 45.30s before Francesco Cantando improved the goal with a 43.73s. Al-Qamzi clocked a first lap of 44.08s and set provisional pole with a 43.58s on his second lap. Selio was unable to get inside the Emirati’s time, but Torrente stormed to the front with a 42.65s lap for the Qatar Team.

Alex Carella was unable to beat Torrente’s time, but Al-Hameli was the last out on the course and his first lap of 43.08s was not enough to seal pole and prevent Torrente from taking the first pole position of his career.


Al-Mehairbi qualified for the F-4S Eurofin Trophy race in sixth position with a quickest lap of 53.83s. England’s Matthew Palfreyman was the fastest of the group and a lap of 50.42s was sufficient to claim pole from Sweden’s Jesper Forss by just 0.47 seconds.

The Team Abu Dhabi driver maintained sixth through three of the 22 laps, as Palfreyman and Forss edged clear of the field. Al-Mehairbi remained in sixth at the halfway point, where Palfreyman extended his overall advantage over Forss to just over 10 seconds.

A yellow flag was raised on lap 16 after an incident involving Qatar’s Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari and the race finished with Palfreyman maintaining his lead over Forss, with Al-Mehairbi in fifth overall when the green flag was raised again two laps from the end.

There will be a second free practice session on Saturday morning and the second of the weekend’s F-4S races begins at 15.00hrs after F-4S timed trials at 13.00hrs. The Grand Prix of Tatarstan starts at 17.00hrs.

2012 Grand Prix of Tatarstan – qualifying results

1. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team            42.65s
2. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team                42.78s       
3. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi             43.08s
4. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team            43.49s
5. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi            43.58s
6. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team    43.73s
7. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad Croc F1 Team            43.80s
8. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden            43.87s
9. Duarte Benavente (POR) F1 Atlantic Team        45.30s       
10. Marit Stromoy (NOR) Team Nautica            45.84s

2012 UIM F1 H20 Pole Position Championship – standings after round 2

1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                 32 pts
2. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team                    30 pts
3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team                20 pts
4. Thani Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                16 pts
5. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team                14 pts
6. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1                12 pts
7. Yousef Al-Rabayan (KUW) F1 Atlantic Team            7 pts
8. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team        5 pts

2012 F-4S Drivers Eurofin Trophy – standings after race 3

1. Matthew Palfreyman (GBR) Atlantic Team            60 pts            
2. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Sweden                45 pts   
3. Tobias Munthe-Kaas (NOR) Team Nautica            33 pts       
4. Xiong Ziwei (CHN) CTIC China Team            21 pts           
5. Valts Silis (LAT) Team Singha                  13 pts       
6. Kornel Vo (HUN) Team Mad Croc                12 pts       
7. Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) Qatar Team        11 pts       
8. Mohamed Al-Mehairbi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi        7 pts
8. Rashed Al-Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi            7 pts       
10. Viktor Vo (HUN) Team Mad Croc                5 pts
11. Erik Danielson (NOR) Team Singha            3 pts

Khalid Al Saadi, photos ADIMSC


22.06.2012 / MaP

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