x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Al Qamzi's strong start seals championship for Abu Dhabi

Vaults from fourth to clinch the Grand Prix of Sharjah and ensure his side's victory.

Starting fourth on the grid, Thani Al Qamzi led from the first corner until the end.
Starting fourth on the grid, Thani Al Qamzi led from the first corner until the end.

Seven days ago Thani Al Qamzi had suffered the frustration of second place on home soil as he was runner-up to Alex Carella in the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.

But seven days on there was no mistake for the Emirati as he triumphed for Team Abu Dhabi in the Grand Prix of Sharjah on Khalid Lagoon, keeping his cool in trying circumstances as the race was restarted three times due to other boats hitting trouble during the 38-lap event.

The joy of his success was doubled as his victory, alongside seventh place for teammate Scott Gillman was enough to secure the UIM F1 H20 Teams' Championship for Team Abu Dhabi.

The key to Al Qamzi's success was a strong start from fourth place on the grid as he made it into the lead by the first corner.

He led the opening six laps before the race was stopped due to an incident involving the British driver Malcolm Goodman.

Al Qamzi led again at the restart, but was put under pressure by Team Qatar's Terry Rinker.

The race was yellow-flagged again on Lap 21 as Jay Price's Qatar boat stopped on the racing line, and the action began again five laps later only to be stopped once more as Stanislav Kurtsenovskiy's stricken boat (of CTIC China Team) had to be removed from the course. The race recommenced with eight laps left.

Al Qamzi held his nerve as he stayed at the front, even edging clear in the final stages as he finished with an advantage of two seconds over Rinker.

The Italian Francesco Cantando of Singha F1 Racing completed the podium, in third place.

The result, as well as giving his team championship success, ensured that Al Qamzi finished the season in joint third place in the drivers' standings, alongside Sami Selio, who was fifth across the line in Sharjah.

The drivers' title had been decided in Abu Dhabi in favour of Carella, who failed to finish in Sharjah after he had started from the back of the grid due to mechanical problems.

Sixth place yesterday for Phillippe Chiappe was enough for him to clinch second place in the championship.

Elsewhere yesterday, Team Abu Dhabi claimed fifth place in the F-4S for the Eurofin Trophy.

The race was won by Matthew Palfreyman, but second place was enough to give Sweden's Jesper Forss the championship.

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