Team Abu Dhabi's Ahmed Al Hameli made a perfect 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 form which saw him finish last season with an equally dominant victory in Sharjah.
Al Hameli's teammate, Thani Al Qamzi, held third for long periods, but was eventually forced out of the race with technical issues.
"This is a perfect start to the year for me," said 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."
Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe passed Sami Selio on the final lap to snatch second position.
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.
By lap 10, Al Hameli's advantage over Selio was 5.03 seconds and Al Qamzi retained third, but Qatar's Shaun Torrente was on a charge and climbed from 19th at the start into fourth overall. Kuwait's Yousef Al Rubayan stopped with four laps remaining and forced a third yellow flag, but Al Hameli hung on to win.
In the second of the weekend's UIM F-4S class races, the Emirati Mohamed Al Maharbi finished fifth overall as Britain's Matthew Palfreyman won his second race of the weekend after leading from lap one.