x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Qamzi to offer Hameli support

Thani al Qamzi backs his teammate Ahmad al Hameli of the Abu Dhabi Formula-1 powerboat team to have a crack at the world title.

Thani al Qamzi, the lead driver of the Abu Dhabi Formula-1 powerboat team, is backing his team-mate Ahmad al Hameli after his own chances to have a crack at the world title were dashed following engine failures and accidents that have left him with no championship points from five races. The two Emirati drivers go into Sunday's Shenzhen grand prix after crashing out early in Liuzhou two weeks ago, the first of the two races in China.

"Ahmad chances are still bright," said Qamzi. "I want to see him get maximum points from this race, even if I have to make sacrifices. And if he can achieve a good result, he will have a realistic chance with the final two races in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah." Hameli finished a creditable second to Qatar's American driver Jay Price in second round of the race series in Portugal, and was third behind the record nine-time Italian world champion Guido Cappellini and Price in the next in Finland.

He picked up a solitary point behind Swede Jonas Andersson in the Russian grand prix and was caught in a mishap early in the race involving Cappellini and Qamzi last time out. Price won that race to take his tally to 70 points, 30 more than his closest challenger Andersson. They are closely followed by Australian David Trask (32), Italian Fabio Comparato (31), Hameli (28) and Cappellini and defending champion from Finland Sami Selio on 27 each.

And with 60 points remaining from the last three races, it is still a wide open race for the world championship. "This race is critical for those who are in the hunt," added Qamzi. "All my thoughts are for Ahmad to win this race." Qamzi was widely expected to improve from his third placed finish in the last two years in the world race series. It hasn't been so after sharing the podium with his American team mate and instructor Scott Gillman in 2007 and Selio last year.

"It was a poor season for me with breakdowns and accidents," admits Qamzi. "The first half of the competition was a real disaster and the last race in China was no better. This is the nature of the sport. I hope to get into points from the remaining three races and then prepare for next season." Whilst Qamzi is the seasoned campaigner for Team Abu Dhabi, Hameli is in his third season, after finishing 20th on his debut in the world circuit and 10th last year. And with Qamzi's chances gone, it will be Hameli who will be carrying Abu Dhabi's hopes in the championship series.

apassela@thenational.ae