ABU DHABI // Thani al Qamzi and Ahmad al Hameli are aiming for strong performances in the penultimate round of the UIM World Formula 1 Powerboat Championship at the Abu Dhabi Marine Festival. The Abu Dhabi leg of the world series will be the high point of the five-day festival which runs between Dec 1 and 5 and coincides with the National Day celebrations.
"We can't think of a better contribution to celebrate the occasion than winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix," said Qamzi, who has had a wretched season having failed to win a point from any of the six championship races as a result of engine failures and mechanical unreliability. "It hasn't been a good season for me but that doesn't stop me from trying to win in Abu Dhabi," he added. "But I hope Ahmad wins it, because he has a better chance of claiming a podium finish in the world championship."
Qamzi was third behind Team Abu Dhabi's American driver and instructor Scott Gillman in the 2006 championship series and finished the same position last year behind Sami Selio of Finland. "I would like to see Ahmad take my place on the podium at the end of the two races in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah," said Qamzi, who leads the pole position points table from the nine-times Italian world champion Guido Cappellini.
Hameli shared the same sentiment of his senior teammate as he looked forward to the event. He said: "I will be very glad if one of us can win this race. "I agree with Thani that we can't think of a better contribution [to the festival] than winning this race." Hameli is in fourth place in the championship standings with two races left in Abu Dhabi and in Sharjah on Dec 12. The American Jay Price, racing under the Qatar banner, tops the championship points table with 85 and need only a sixth place in one of the two races to become the world champion.
Jonas Andersson of Sweden is his only challenger on 47, with the defending champion Selio in third place followed by Hameli. The Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club has made elaborate plans for the holiday crowd with kayak races on the opening day followed by a short distance triathlon, angling competition, swimming, aqua bike races and the grand finale world championship race. "It is a nice occasion for the holiday crowd to come and enjoy all the action in the water, the sideshows and prizes on free entry coupons, on all five days at the Breakwater," said Ahmed al Rumaithi, a board member of the club.