Team Abu Dhabi's Ahmed Al-Hameli takes victor in Qatar Grand-Prix

Team Abu Dhabi's Ahmed Al-Hameli takes victor in Qatar Grand-Prix

10.03.2012: - Thani Al-Qamzi loses potential podium finish on lap 31 - Team Abu Dhabi finish fifth in second UIM F-4S race; victory for Palfreyman

- Thani Al-Qamzi loses potential podium finish on lap 31

- Team Abu Dhabi finish fifth in second UIM F-4S race; victory for Palfreyman

 



Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al-Hameli made a sensational start to his bid for the 2012 UIM F1 H20 World Championship title by dominating the 10th Grand Prix of Qatar in Doha Bay on Saturday.
 

The Emirati led from pole position and overcame three yellow flag situations to take maximum points and continue the run of stunning form in which he finished last season with an equally dominant victory in Sharjah.
 

Al-Hameli’s team-mate Thani Al-Qamzi, a former winner of the Qatar race, held third overall for long periods and slipped to fourth after the second of the three yellow flags, but was forced out of the race with technical issues after lap 31. Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe passed former World Champion Sami Selio on the final lap to snatch second position.
 

“This is a perfect start to the year for me,” admitted a delighted Al-Hameli. “I felt good from the start and the strategy worked well, even with the yellow flags. It’s disappointing for Thani, but we have shown that we are going to be a serious threat for the world title this year.”
 

Rashid Al-Qamzi was initially listed to replace Mohamed Al-Maharbi for the second of the weekend’s UIM F-4S races but the original Emirati returned to the hot seat for the second race. He eventually finished fifth overall, as Britain’s Matthew Palfreyman won his second race of the weekend after leading from lap one.
 

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.
 


Grand Prix of Qatar
 

The Team Abu Dhabi duo began the race from pole position and fourth, although it was still important that Al-Hameli stayed ahead of Selio into the first turn buoy. The Finn made a superb start, but Al-Hameli held the inside line and was able to keep the lead through lap one and began to pull away from the rest of the field. Al-Qamzi settled into third place.
 


Through five of the 40 laps, Al-Hameli had extended his lead over Selio to 4.68s and Al-Qamzi remained in close contention in third. By lap 10, Al-Hameli’s advantage over Selio was 5.03s and Al-Qamzi retained third, but Qatar’s Shaun Torrente was on a charge and had climbed from 19th at the start and through the top 10 into fourth overall. The race was yellow-flagged on lap 11, when Jonas Andersson stopped, and the Team Abu Dhabi duo retained first and third overall in their BaBas.
 

The Team Abu Dhabi duo held station when the green flag was raised and Al-Hameli started to edge away from Selio for the second time. The duo continued to hold first and third with 19 laps to go, but the race was yellow-flagged for a second time soon afterwards.
 

Action resumed on lap 28 and Al-Hameli maintained his lead, but Al-Qamzi slipped to fourth behind Phillipe Chiappe and was then forced out of the running on the 31st lap. Kuwait’s Yousef Al-Rubayan stopped with four laps remaining and forced a third yellow flag situation, but Al-Hameli hung on to record a superb victory, with Phillipe Chiappe passing Sami Selio in the closing stages to snatch second position.
 

Pole winner Al-Hameli set the fastest time in the second free practice session and posted a quickest lap of 45.00s. This was 0.45s quicker than the time taken by former World Champion Sami Selio. Al-Qamzi set the sixth quickest time.
 


F-4S
 

Mohamed Al-Maharbi proved his potential during the first F-4S race of the season on Friday and Rashid Al-Qamzi was mooted to take his turn to impress on Saturday after Al-Maharbi had run in the morning’s practice session.
 

The Team Abu Dhabi boat recorded the fifth quickest time in the qualifying session for race two after running for 12 laps and recording a best lap of 45.87s. Sweden’s Jesper Forss set the fastest lap of 43.41s and beat race one winner Matthew Palfreyman to pole position by 0.27s.
 


Palfreyman squeezed into the lead on lap one, as the Abu Dhabi boat slipped to the rear of the field. A yellow flag incident closed drivers up on lap three and Team Abu Dhabi was promoted to seventh by the demise of China’s Xiong Ziwei. Palfreyman continued to lead after the eighth-lap restart and Team Abu Dhabi settled into sixth position. Al-Maharbi moved up to fifth as the race reached halfway and Palfreyman continued to pull away from the field.
 

There were to be no late dramas and Team Abu Dhabi completed the race in a creditable fifth position, with Palfreyman continuing his 100% start to the new season with a second win in as many days.
 


10th Grand Prix of Qatar – results


1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                     40 laps
2. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team                     @ 2.63s
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1                       @ 3.91s
4. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team                              @ 4.96s
5. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team                                        @ 5.93s 
6. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team  @ 7.79s
7. Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) CTIC China Team            @ 13.96s
8. Filip Roms (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1                       @ 15.29s
9. Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan (QAT) Qatar Team                    2 laps behind         
10. Valerio Lagiannella (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team  3 laps behind
 


2012 UIM F1 H20 World Championship – standings after round 1


1. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                     20 pts
2. Phillipe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC China Team                     15 pts
3. Sami Selio (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1                       12 pts
4. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Qatar Team                              9 pts
5. Alex Carella (QAT) Qatar Team                                        7 pts         
6. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team  5 pts
7. Stanislav Kourtsenovsky (RUS) CTIC China Team            4 pts
8. Filip Roms (FIN) Team Mad Croc F1                          3 pts
9. Khaled Saleh Al-Shamlan (QAT) Qatar Team                    2 pts           
10. Valerio Lagiannella (ITA) Singha F1 Racing Team  1 pt
 



- AUdrey Graham, photos F1 H20

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/f1h20-team-abu-dhabi-ahmed-al-hameli-victor-qatar-grand-prix---97057.html

10.03.2012 / MaP

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