x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Qamzi and al Hameli buoyed by their form

The Team Abu Dhabi pair of Thani al Qamzi and Ahmad al Hameli will today aim to build on their bright start when the UIM Formula One World Championship visits Finland.

The Team Abu Dhabi pair of Thani al Qamzi and Ahmad al Hameli will today aim to build on their bright start when the UIM Formula One World Championship visits Finland. Al Qamzi leads the championship series with 29 points with his teammate al Hameli (20) in second as they prepare to go into the first back-to-back races in Lahti. "We have got off to a good start, but we need to keep winning points and build on the lead," said al Qamzi.

"I raced in my old boat in the first half of the last season because I felt more comfortable and confident in it. But it didn't go well for me and I switched on to the new boat the club had purchased at the beginning of the season. "It took some time for me to get the hang of it in the DEC Mercury-engine, but it all began to fall in place in the last two races, where I finished third in Abu Dhabi and won the final race in Sharjah. And we have been working on a lot of improvements over the summer and it seems to be coming off well for us."

Al Qamzi picked up from where he left off in the new format of the back-to-back races in one venue. He finished fourth in the opening Portugal Grand Prix behind al Hameli before winning the following day to go on top of the championship table. He finished third in the world championship in 2006 and 2007 before a disappointing eighth last year, in which he failed to win a point until the penultimate round of the race series.

"I had a frustrating last year," said al Qamzi. "But that's behind me now. I feel more confident with the boat and looking forward to a better year. I have been in the circuit long enough to understand what it takes to become a world champion. "It is too early to say how the year will pan out for us, but I feel we are on the right track after the opening event in Portugal." The American Jay Price, the defending world champion who races under the Qatar banner, is lying in third on 15 points.

Sharing that spot with him in the standings is the Italian racer Francesco Cantando. "The competition is very fierce out there and it is hard to say if we are in a good position," added Al Hameli. "It is a long season and double the number of races in the new format of back-to-back races at a single venue. We are going into a new race, and it is a new start." apassela@thenational.ae