Sharjah: Team Abu Dhabi has promised to go on an all-out assault to wrap up the most fruitful season heading into this weekend’s Grand Prix of Sharjah — the seventh and final round on the 2018 UIM F1H2O World Championship on the Khalid Lagoon.
For the first time, two championship titles will be decided in Sharjah during the week with the final round of the UIM F1H2O World Championship being held alongside the final round of the UIM-ABP Aquabike Class Pro Circuit World Championship. Known jointly as the Sharjah World Championship Week, the two competitions to be held at the Khalid Lagoon along the Buhairah Corniche from December 11-15 were announced by Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), Nicolo di San Germano, Promoter, UIM F1 Powerboat and Aquabike World Championship and several of the participants.
Thani Al Qamzi threw open the race for the drivers’ crown with an amazing start-to-finish push that saw the 40-year-old become the first ever Arab to win the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi last weekend. That win saw the Emirati driver climb back into second overall with 74 points, just three shy of leader and teammate Shaun Torrente, while the third Team Abu Dhabi driver Erik Stark slipped into third with 65 points.
Al Qamzi’s outright win and Torrente’s sixth place was enough for Team Abu Dhabi to snatch a third teams’ title in four years as they stay unbeatable at the top with 131 points and one last race to go in Sharjah this week. For 10-time world champion Guido Cappellini — who took over Team Abu Dhabi in 2015 — this is the third success following earlier crowns in 2015 and 2017.
But the teams’ championship title is not going to stop either of the three from competing for the drivers’ honours. “All three of us have an equal chance to get a world title and neither of us is going to stop in this quest,” Torrente told media at the official announcement of the Sharjah World Championship Week from December 11-15.
“It’s the last race of the season,” Torrente said. With Guido at the helm we have put in a lot of hard work during the pre-season and now during the races to be where we are. It’s been such an amazing year for us when I look at the whole scenario. There have been ups and downs, but it’s been an amazing season overall.”
Going into the final race of the season, the Miami resident has had six starts in Sharjah that have culminated into four podiums. Last weekend, Torrente ended in sixth in the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi barely managing to keep a three-point lead over teammate Al Qamzi in the overall standings.
“As a team we expect to win every time we go into a race merely because we work hard and prepare equally hard,” he added. “So far, we have accomplished one goal of winning the teams’ crown. This week one of us has to go and win the drivers’ title. No one is going to stop us and we will be going all out for the win as all three of us have an equal chance of being the world champion.”
Drivers’ standings 1. Shaun Torrente (USA/UAE) 77 pts; 2. Thani Al Qamzi (UAE) 74; 3. Erik Stark (Sweden/UAE) 65; 4. Peter Morin (France) 54; 5. Philippe Chiappe (France) 37; 6. Marit Stromoy (Norway) 35; 7. Sami Selio (Finland) 19; 8. Erik Edin (Sweden) 18; 9. Ahmad Al Hameli (UAE) 18; 10. Francesco Cantando (Italy) 17.
Tuesday: 9.30am-12.30pm Free practice for Aquabikes; 2.30pm-5.30pm Pole Positions for Ski Ladies GP1, Ski Division GP1, Runabout GP1 and Freestyle
Wednesday: 10am-noon Moto 1 for Ski Division GP1, Ski Ladies GP1, Runabout GP1, Freestyle; 3pm-5pm) Moto 2 for Ski Division GP1, Ski Ladies GP1, Runabout GP1, Freestyle
Thursday: 9am-10.20am Free practice for F4; 10.15am-11.15am Free practice for F1; 2.30pm-2.50pm Race 1 for F4; 3.30pm-4.30pm BRM Qualifying for F1
Friday: 10.15am to 12.15pm Free practice for Aquabikes; 2pm-4pm Moto 3 for Ski Division GP1, Ski Ladies GP1, Runabout GP1, Freestyle
Saturday: 9.10am-9.30am Free practice for F4; 9.40am-10am Time Trials for F4; 10.15am-11.15am Free practice for F1; 2.30-2.50pm Race 2 for F4; 4pm-4.45pm F1 Grand Prix of Sharjah