Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella extended his advantage to 16 points in the 2017 Union Internationale Motonautique F1 H2O World Championship after leading China’s Grand Prix of Liuzhou from start to finish on Sunday afternoon. The three-time world champion held off a fierce challenge from Team Sweden’s Erik Starkm, who won the previous race in Harbin, China, to reach the checkered flag more than 4 seconds in front of Stark and almost 11 seconds ahead of three-time defending champion, Philippe Chiappe, of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team.
Alex Carella drove his new Team Abu Dhabi boat to victory at the F1 H2O race in Liuzhou, China. Photo courtesy Team Abu Dhabi
The Victory Team duo of Ahmed Al-Hameli and Shaun Torrente finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the fourth race of the 2017 F1 H2O season.
Despite one yellow flag interruption to reposition a displaced turn buoy, Carella dominated the race in his new boat. His Team Abu Dhabi teammate, Thani Al-Qemzi, finished sixth enabling the team running out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club to extend its advantage in the UIM Teams’ Championship to 29 points over Team Sweden. The Italian driver’s 14th career victory also moved him into a tie with Welshman Jonathan Jones in the Hall of Fame.
His other teammate, Rashed Al-Qemzi, looked set for his first ever haul of championship points in the third of the Team Abu Dhabi boats but he slipped down to 11th position in the closing laps.
“This was such an important victory for me and puts the team in a great position heading into the last two races in the Middle East in the winter,” Carella said. “The new boat was fantastic. I felt confident all weekend and all the hard work has been rewarded. Now we head back to Abu Dhabi in a very strong position and have the opportunity to win the title with a victory at our own Grand Prix.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Carella and Thani and Rashed Al-Qemzi lined-up in pole position, seventh and eighth for the start of the 48-lap race on the Liu River. Carella’s closest series rival—Sami Selio—was 18th after a spectacular crash wrecked his qualifying session. Torrente lined up in 10th and defending champion Chiappe was fifth in sunny conditions on the Liu River.
Behind Carella, who has 58 points this season, in the current F1 H2O World Championship standings after four rounds is Sweden’s Erik Stark (42 points), France’s Philippe Chiappe (39 points), Finland’s Sami Selio (30 points), United Arab Emirates’ Ahmed Al-Hameli (30 points), United Arab Emirates’ Thani Al-Qemzi (25 points) and USA’s Shaun Torrente (19 points).
The next round of the F1 H2O World Championship takes place in the Middle East, Dec 6-8, in Abu Dhabi, and the season finale takes place in Sharjah the following week.
Stark Earns First F1 H2O Victory in China
Team Abu Dhabi’s Carella Wins F1 H2O Grand Prix of France
Chiappe Takes Victory in F1 H2O Season Opener in Portugal
Al-Hameli Joins Torrente on Revamped Gillman-Led Victory Team
Enough is Enough: Torrente Calls for Focus on Safety