x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Abu Dhabi duo take team crown

The pair of Al Qamzi and Al Hameli finish fourth and fifth respectively at Sharjah but the chances of individual glory for Qamzi are now remote.

Ahmed al Hameli, above, and his teammate Thani al Qamzi are the powerboat team champions.
Ahmed al Hameli, above, and his teammate Thani al Qamzi are the powerboat team champions.

Thani al Qamzi's chances of an individual world title appear remote, but the Emirati driver and his teammate Ahmed al Hameli clinched the team championship at yesterday's UIM World Formula One powerboat race in Sharjah. Al Qamzi and al Hameli finished fourth and fifth respectively to take Team Abu Dhabi's points tally to 212 points, giving them an unassailable lead over Zepter Team (156) and Qatar(145).

Jay Price won his second successive race from the Finn Sami Selio. But it is third-placed Guido Cappellini who leads the championship. He has 141 points, while al Qamzi has 128 and Price 125. If al Qamzi wins today's season finale in Sharjah, he can take the title - but only if Cappellini does not finish in the top four. The Emirati can also finish second and win the crown - providing he is ahead of Price and Cappellini places no better than 10th.

Drivers get 20 points for a win, 15 for second place and 12 for third. The top ten racers all score points. "There is one last chance and that is to win the race tomorrow [Friday]," said al Qamzi. "It is going to be one hell of a race with Guido, Jay and Sami all with a chance to become the world champion. But Guido has it all stacked in his favour." The Team Abu Dhabi driver started with a four-point lead in Abu Dhabi last weekend but lost it to Cappellini, who moved 10 points clear heading to Sharjah.

The Italian, who has nine world titles, is now the favourite. And he is sure to use all his experience for a tactical race to extend his record haul of titles to 10. Price's challenge may have arrived a bit late, but he remained hopeful "It's a long shot with Cappellini well ahead, but I'll give everything to get as close as possible. I want to win the final race and let's see what happens after that," he said.

Price was quick to move into a good lead from pole in the first lap yesterday, but the race came to a halt following a collision between the Italian Francesco Cantando and Philippe Chaippe of France. Al Qamzi had moved up four places from ninth to fifth within that time. However, Price shot into the lead after the re-start with Selio, Cappellini, al Hameli, al Qamzi and Jonas Andersson hot on his trail.

The order remained unchanged until the last two laps when al Hameli allowed al Qamzi to pass. @Email:apassela@thenational.ae