x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Al Hameli licensed to thrill

The Emirati is on pole after a good day overall for Team Abu Dhabi on the Liu River in China.

Thani al Qamzi of the Abu Dhabi team races through the water in China.
Thani al Qamzi of the Abu Dhabi team races through the water in China.

LIUZHOU, CHINA // Team Abu Dhabi's Ahmed al Hameli will start today's Grand Prix of China at the front of the grid after a thrilling performance in the time trials yesterday.

The Emirati, 31, who is top of the pole position championship, set the pace on the Liu River in Liuzhou yesterday with a fastest lap of 46.29secs and will be keen to make up ground in the drivers world championship table where he currently lies sixth in the eight-race championship.

The final two races of the season take place in December in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Thani al Qamzi, also born in the capital, capped a successful day's racing for Team Abu Dhabi by setting the third-fastest qualifying time in a qualifying session that was marred by a heavy collision between Alex Carella and Luigi Roberto.

The 32-year-old now holds sixth position in the pole position championship and is in fifth place overall.

Al Hameli was forced to retire from the last event in Linyi with propeller problems.

"After the disappointments in Linyi, this was just the result we needed," al Hameli said. "Thani and I are now in great positions to set the pace in the race on Sunday."

Meanwhile, the Dubai-born Rashid al Tayer kickstarted his F4 career by recording fifth position in the first of the two Liuzhou F4 races.

Both Majed al Mansoori and al Tayer were permitted to test Team Abu Dhabi's F4 boat on Friday and a final decision was made as to who would represent the UAE team in the two F4 races on Saturday and Sunday. Al Tayer was given the nod, with an agreement made for al Mansoori to represent Team Abu Dhabi in Shenzhen next weekend.

The Grand Prix of China takes place on the Liu River on Sunday afternoon at 4pm (noon UAE time) after a second free practice session and the second of the new 20-minute F4 races.