Local challengers crash into each other at the first turn as Finnish Selio claims start-to-finish race.
Double whammy for Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi’s local favourites
A collision in the first corner between their two riders ruined Team Abu Dhabi’s hopes of success at the UIM F1 H20 World Championship Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Ahmed Al Hameli and Thani Al Qamzi made contact as they attempted to make their way around the first buoy, with both being eliminated on the spot.
The pair began in fourth and sixth on the grid, and Al Hameli lamented the incident.
“When I got to the buoy, I saw no one behind me and I was making good progress and was up with Alex Carella,” the Emirati said.
“Then, there was a collision and it was over.
“We are obviously very disappointed not to have been able to challenge for the win at our home race for the first time.”
Pole-sitter Sami Selio of Finland led from the restart and survived a second yellow-flag situation after 18 laps when Ziwei Xiong’s boat flipped to control the race throughout in his Team Mad Croc BaBa boat.
The Finn’s winning margin was 2.41 seconds over Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe and Selio will take a slender two-point championship lead over the Qatar Team’s Shaun Torrente to the final race in Sharjah on December 13.
World champion Alex Carella of the Qatar Team was third and holds a similar position in the title race, a mere four points behind Selio.
Chiappe is fourth and a thrilling final-race showdown looms between the four drivers. Perhaps the drive of the race came from Norway’s Marit Stromoy. She overcame a persistent challenge from Torrente to secure a career-best fourth place.
In the F-4s category, there was disappointment for Rashid Al Romaithi as technical problems on his boat meant the Team Abu Dhabi driver was unable to compete in yesterday’s race.
Latvia’s Nikita Lijcs took the honours by holding off the challenge of Nicklas Friberg, while a third-place finish for Mike Szymura gave the German racer the drivers’ championship.
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