Thani al Qamzi's hopes and expectations for a first powerboat racing world title have never been higher. The Team Abu Dhabi's Emirati driver is confident about his chances as the World Championship series moves to China with races today and tomorrow. Al Qamzi is heading into the first race in Liuzhou on 65 points, 10 more than the defending champion, Jay Price, the American driver racing under the Qatar flag.
Team Abu Dhabi's second Emirati, Ahmad al Hameli (47 points) is in fourth place, five points behind the Swede Jonas Andersson in third. "There are four races in three weeks and not a lot of time after these two races before we go to Shenzhen," said al Qamzi. "So we need to make sure that we look after the boats and don't spoil our chances in the next two races as well. "I have had a great start and want to finish on top this time. This is a great opportunity to win the world title, which is my ultimate goal. So the four races in China will be crucial before we get back to the more familiar waters in Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah."
The two races in Liuzhou will be followed by next week's event at Shenzhen (October 17-18), Qatar (November 27-28), Abu Dhabi (December 4-5) and Sharjah (December 10-11). Confident though he is, Al Qamzi, who didn't score a point last year until the last two races, in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, says the championship is still far from decided. "A win carries 20 points and with 10 races left, it is still a wide open competition. I had problems with the boat last season until returning to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. But this year everything has gone to plan and I'm looking forward to the races in China before I return to the familiar waters in the Gulf."