x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Al Qamzi has high hopes

Thani al Qamzi failed to register a point until the seventh race of last season's UIM Formula 1 World Championship. It has been a different story this year.

Thani al Qamzi failed to register a point until the seventh race of last season's UIM Formula 1 World Championship. It has been a different story this year, though, for the speedy Emirati and his Team Abu Dhabi companion Ahmad al Hameli. He leads the series with 29 points from Al Hameli (20) in the new format of back-to-back championship events at the same venue, both having won races in the opening round.

Al Qamzi claimed third place in the penultimate race in Abu Dhabi last year and followed it up with a superb win in Sharjah to finish eighth in the championship standings, but he has loftier targets this time round. The Abu Dhabi duo go into tomorrow's two-day Finnish Grand Prix after a 10-day training camp in Italy. Al Qamzi has been encouraged by his Mercury-engine DAC. He said: "We raced for a similar distance and time scale as we do in the actual races. We tested under different weather conditions and at varying speeds."

He added: "The new points system worked in our favour in Portugal and I was able to collect maximum points from the second race. "It gives you a better chance to score more points. "It takes more physical and psychological effort to take part in two races over the weekend, but I enjoyed the experience last time out." The Finnish stage has a history of providing different winners in the five years since the first race was staged there in 1998.

Al Qamzi and al Hameli are not among the previous winners. They may feel history is not on their side. But the two Emirati drivers have got off to flying starts this season, with Al Hameli winning the first race in Portugal and Al Qamzi improving from fourth to take the following day's race in the opening round. apassela@thenational.ae