Thani Al Qamzi leads fellow Emirati pilot Ahmed Al Hameli to the line to keep championship hopes alive heading into home waters.
Powerboats: Team Abu Dhabi dominate in China one-two finish
LIUZHOU CHINA // Thani Al Qamzi led fellow Emirati pilot Ahmed Al Hameli to a dominate one-two finish as Team Abu Dhabi enjoyed a sensational Grand Prix of China.
Al Hameli, starting on pole on the Liu River in Liuzhou, led from the green flag and always looked comfortable in front of the field of 18 boats, but he slowed down enough to allow his teammate through within sight of the finish for Al Qamzi to duly claim his first Grand Prix win to move in contention of the 2011 UIM F1 H20 World Championship with two races remaining in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
"Everything went right from the start and we had the perfect strategy," a delighted Al Qamzi said, who now trails the championship-leading Qatar Team driver Jay Price by 12 points after the American was disqualified from fifth place after missing a turning buoy during the race.
Al Qamzi's start to the race was boosted when he moved from fourth to third on the grid when Alex Carella suffered an engine problem in practice and been pushed down to the rear of the field. The Emirati then made the most of the situation to launch a good start to the 36-lap race.
Al Hameli shadowed Jonas Andersson into the opening turn buoy, but the Swede had jump-started the green flag. Further back, Phillipe Tourre and Valerio Lagiannella were involved in a collision and a yellow flag was raised while the damaged boats were removed from the course.
Action resumed on Lap 4 with Al Hameli and Al Qamzi made an excellent start and held first and second positions, with Price, Phillipe Chiappe and Sami Selio close behind.
Al Hameli extended his lead over Al Qamzi to 3.25 seconds through nine laps and the margin remained constant for the next 10 tours of the course.
An accident involving Sami Selio forced a second yellow flag on Lap 29. The Team Abu Dhabi duo maintained their advantage after the restart with four laps remaining, with Al Qamzi moving in front of Al Hameli with one lap to go.