LIUZHOU, CHINA // Thani al Qamzi, the Team Abu Dhabi driver, moved into joint second place in the UIM F1 Drivers' Championship after finishing runner-up in the Grand Prix of China yesterday.
But on a day of mixed fortunes for the Abu Dhabi team on the Liu River in Liuzhou, Ahmed al Hameli, the time trial winner and pole position sitter, was forced to retire with mechanical problems midway through the race while in third place.
The Qatar Team's Jay Price led from start-to-finish in his DAC and now holds a nine-point lead in the championship at the season's midpoint.
Team Abu Dhabi's Rashid al Tayer moved up to fourth in the Eurofin F4 Drivers' Championship standings after finishing fourth in the second F4 race yesterday afternoon. He will trade his place with Majed al Mansoori for the F4 races at next week's Shenzhen race meeting, also in China.
Al Hameli and al Qamzi started from first and third on the grid, but Price made a good start behind Jonas Andersson, the Swedish racer, who appeared to jump the start flag.
The Swede had to carry out a drive-through penalty and Price went into the lead ahead of Sami Selio, al Qamzi and al Hameli..
Al Qamzi and al Hameli maintained third and fourth places through 10 of the planned 37 laps, but Selio began to fall back with technical issues and the UAE moved up to second and third.
Al Qamzi continued to put the pressure on Price and trailed the Qatar Team driver by 4.73secs after 17 laps. As the race reached the half-way point, al Hameli was forced to retire with engine trouble.
The leading four drivers held their places heading into the final 10 laps and al Qamzi was unable to close the gap on Price, despite both drivers being delayed slightly while overtaking back-markers.
The Emirati kept his composure to seal second position and ensure that he headed into the next meeting in Shenzhen tied for second in the drivers' championship with Alex Carella and Francesco Cantando.
Al Tayer set the fourth fastest time in the second free F4 practice session and qualified in seventh for the race with a lap of 53.24s.
Sweden's Oskar Samuelsson claimed his second pole position of the weekend, but the Swede slipped to third place in the actual race. Al Tayer just missed out on the podium with fourth overall to Finland's Filip Roms from the Mad Croc Team, who now has a three-point lead in the F4 championship.