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Three home boats set for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Al Hameli misses out through illness, but manager Gillman returns to the water

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Following the disappointing news that Ahmad Al Hameli will miss the remaining two rounds of the 2012 UIM F1 H20 World Championship through illness, Thani Al Qamzi and Majid Al Mansouri will represent Team Abu Dhabi in this weekend’s 21st Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at the ADIMSC.

They will be joined by Team Abu Dhabi’s team manager Scott Gillman, who is switching from management duties to race in a third Team Abu Dhabi boat. Gillman, a four-time UIM F1 world champion, took 23 victories from 90 F1 GP starts and is ranked second in the hall of fame for most race wins.

Al Hameli was a firm favourite to win his first ever world title this season, but illness kept him away from October’s Grand Prix of China and his recuperation period means that he will also miss the last two rounds in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

The Emirati’s absence has left the door open for Qatar Team’s Alex Carella to close in on a second successive world title, although Frenchman Phillipe Chiappe and Finland’s Sami Selio are well-placed to prevent the Italian from repeating last year’s success.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Al Qamzi also has a mathematical chance to win the title. On paper he trails Carella by 34 points, but with 40 points at stake for the winner of the last two races, bad luck for Carella could propel Al Qamzi into contention.

The ADIMSC-based team will also be hoping to strengthen their challenge for the UIM F1 Teams’ Cup. Team Abu Dhabi currently lead the Qatar Team by 11 points.

Team Abu Dhabi run under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) with support from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA). The team is run under the patronage of Dr. Shaikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Advisor to the President of the UAE, and Etihad Airways is the official carrier.

Mohammad Al Mehairbi will represent Team Abu Dhabi in the pair of UIM F-4S races for the Eurofin Trophy. The Emirati is tied fifth in the points’ standings heading into the Abu Dhabi race weekend.

Free practice and the time trials for the F-4S runners start at 9.20am on Thursday and the F1 boats hit the water at 10.30am. The first of the two F-4S races starts at 1.30pm and F1 qualifying gets under way at 3pm.

Friday’s action gets under way with F-4S free practice and time trials from 9.15am and further F1 practice from 10.15am. The second of the F-4S races starts at 1.30pm and precedes the 2012 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, starting at 3.30pm.