Team Abu Dhabi secured their first major powerboat racing crown of the season on Sunday as Rashed Al Qemzi, Thani Al Qemzi and Mansoor Al Mansoori combined to win the UIM World Endurance Championships in Augustow, Poland.
Third place on Lake Necko to add to their opening race victory 24 hours earlier was enough to clinch the title for the all-Emirati crew in Abu Dhabi 1 as team manager Guido Cappellini’s two-boat strategy worked to perfection.
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Italian Tullio Abbate, Norway’s Marit Stromoy, Monaco’s Giacomo Sacchi and Spain’s Hector Sanz recovered from Saturday’s mechanical disaster to comfortably win race two, but had to settle for third spot in the championships.
Ensuring a repeat of Team Abu Dhabi’s one-two success in 2019, the all-Emirati crew of Rashed Al Tayer, Majed Al Mansoori, Rashed Al Remeithi and Mohammad Al Mehairbi finished runners up on the day, and in the championships, in Abu Dhabi 2.
After Abbate’s first-day problems which resulted in a fourth-place finish, the Al Qemzi cousins and Team Abu Dhabi new recruit Al Mansoori knew that only a major mechanical failure or driver error could cost them the world crown.
They were happy to settle for third spot on the podium on Sunday as Abbate — a member of the winning Abu Dhabi crew when the event was last staged two years ago — Stromoy, Sacchi and Sanz pulled away to complete 246 laps by the six-hour mark.
A five-lap penalty for a driver infringement during refuelling still left them clear of Al Tayer — also part of the 2019 championship-winning team — Al Mansoori, Al Remeithi and Al Mehairbi, who clocked up 236 laps.
First race winners Abu Dhabi 1 were just two laps further away. They had started the day in complete control of the championship, but were well aware that a technical issue or a single lapse in concentration could prove costly.
No one understood this better than Rashed Al Qemzi, the two-times F2 world champion, who was at the wheel and leading in this event in 2018 when the Abu Dhabi boat was halted by a sudden electrical failure a few minutes before the finish.
The triumph means that Cappellini has now delivered 12 world championship titles to Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club since taking charge in February 2015.
This was also the first time in the championships that Team Abu Dhabi had been represented by a full Emirati driver line-up.