KIEV // Ahmed Al Hameli made a sensational return to the UIM F1 H20 World Championship after serving a suspension by leading from start to finish to win the Grand Prix of Ukraine.
The Emirati fended off a fierce challenge from the championship leader Jay Price throughout the 37 laps in Kiev to claim the maximum 20 points, his first points haul in this year's championship and his first win in the series since being victorious in Sharjah last year.
"This was just the result I needed after missing the last race," said a delighted Al Hameli, who missed the third round in Russia after receiving a red card by officials at the Grand Prix of Portugal.
It was not quite a stellar day for his Team Abu Dhabi teammate, Thani Al Qamzi, who struggled to break into the top five from the start of the race and eventually dropped from sixth to seventh at the finish. Al Qamzi does maintain third position in the championship, 32 points behind the leader Price.
Al Hameli laid his line and held on to his lead from pole position through the opening lap. By the end of Lap 7, he held a 3.99 secs advantage over Team Qatar's Price. The Qatari pilot began to eat into the Emirati's advantage and by Lap 24 was just over a second adrift.
The Team Abu Dhabi pilot responded and opened the gap to 2.7secs. With the pair now lapping backmarkers, Al Hameli made lighter work of overtaking and Price could not post a further attack, but kept th leader honest on the "Kiev Sea" for the remaining 10 laps. The Emirati duly held his terrific pace to the finish line.
Al Qamzi reached the checkered flag in seventh after being passed by Alex Carella, in the second Team Qatar boat, towards the end.