Team Abu Dhabi duo face must-win showdown to remain in title hunt

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Thani Al-Qamzi in action for Team Abu Dhabi in Portugal earlier this year.

Team Abu Dhabi are currently enjoying their most successful season to date, but Thani Al-Qamzi or Alex Carella must produce a win on home waters on Friday if they are to have any chance of bringing a second world title to the capital.

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Heading into the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, Al-Qamzi and Carella are two of seven drivers who can mathematically still snatch the F1 crown, with the final round to follow in Sharjah a week later.

The Emirati and his Italian team-mate have been testing in earnest in recent weeks to give themselves the best chance of securing a win, although a home success for either may still not be enough.

Nevertheless, Al-Qamzi and Carella are eager to build on the recent achievements of Class 1 stars John Tomlinson and Gary Ballough, who secured Team Abu Dhabi’s first ever world title last month, and Rashed Al-Tayer and Faleh Al-Mansoori, who finished runners up in their first season in the UIM XCAT World Series three weeks later.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella faces a crucial must-win on home waters.

As a result, he heads into the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi lying sixth in the championship standings, a point ahead of Carella but 35 shy of the series leader and defending champion, Philippe Chiappe, who won in Abu Dhabi last year.

The Frenchman’s clinical win in China sees him arrive in the UAE with a 16-point advantage over the Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente, with 40 pts available for winning the last two rounds.

“We carried out a good test before the XCAT racing with Alex (Carella) and Thani (Al-Qamzi) at different times at ADIMSC and the plan was more testing in the build up to this race,” said Team Abu Dhabi’s racing manager and nine-time former World Champion Guido Cappellini. 

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On the Radar: Dubai Ladies Masters, AGL

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There is no end of sport to get involved in or watch in the UAE this week and here are Sport360’s top picks.

From the Dubai Ladies Masters to the Spinney’s Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge and the return of the hugely popular Talise Fitness Sandstorm event, there is something for everyone in the Emirates this week.

AL WATHBA CYCLE RACE SERIES 
Monday, December 7

The race is an excellent event series suitable for novice riders who are either recreational riders and/or not used to group riding techniques.

As a series it allows for riders to be re-seeded given the expectation that as riders’ skills and fitness improve they would move to later groups where the pace will be faster and the group skills more hone.

Al Wathba Cycle Series.

Venue: Al Wathba Cycle Track, Abu Dhabi 

DUBAI DASH CORPORATE RELAY
Wednesday, December 9

Individuals will run a 1.5km leg around the state-of-the-art Sports City with each team covering a total distance of 15km.

With the event limited to 600 individuals, organisers are encouraging not to miss out on this great opportunity where companies can foster teamwork and promote an active lifestyle by building corporate teams and competing against each other.

Dubai Dash.

Venue: Dubai Sports City
Website: Dubai Dash

DUBAI LADIES MASTERS
Wednesday, December 9 – Saturday, December 12

The Omega Dubai Ladies Masters is the first full Ladies European Tour (LET) event ever to be played in the Middle East.

The season-ending LET event made its debut in 2006 and boasts a prize fund of euro 500,000 (Dhs2m) with the winner taking home euro 75,000 (Dhs300,000).

Last year, Shanshan Feng strolled to an emphatic five-shot win with a 19-under par effort after winning the 2012 event with a similar margin and a 21-under par tally.

Venue: Emirates Golf Club
Website: Dubai Ladies Masters
DUBAI WORLD SUPERSERIES FINALS
The world’s badminton heroes return to Dubai for a battle royale of the top-ranked players which is set to see the sport take the city by storm this weekend.
Top-ranked payers such as Chen Long, Kento Momota, Carolina Marin, Saina Nehwal and Wang Shixian will hit the courts for a thrilling slate of action.
Saina Nehwal.

Venue: Hamdan Sports Complex
Website: Dubai Superseries Finals

ARABIAN GULF LEAGUE
Thursday, December 10

The UAE’s premier football competition is back and it is all to play for. The highlight of the round is Al Ahli’s trip to Al Wasl.

Website: AGL 

TALISE FITNESS SANDSTORM
Friday, December 11

Dubbed as Dubai’s most beautiful obstacle course, set against the backdrop of the Burj Al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah & Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the 4km sprint course is a series of challenging yet fun obstacles where teams of three will need to climb, crawl, run or jump through a series of challenges devised using the elements of land, sand and sea.

Created by the team at Talise Fitness, Sandstorm has grown significantly in popularity with each event and due to huge demand, the December edition of the race will be the biggest yet, attracting up to 100 teams of three.

Venue: Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Website: Talise Sandstorm

SPINNEYS DUBAI 92 CYCLE CHALLENGE
Friday, December 11

More than 2,500 riders from around the world are expected to take part in the main Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge.

The challenge is an ideal platform which caters for all levels of cycling experience as the increase in distance of each Build-Up ride gives participants plenty of time to prepare for the main event.

Juniors also have the opportunity to be involved in the cycling weekend with a dedicated 15km and 30km Junior Rides

Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge.

Venue: Nad Al Sheba Track
Website: Spinneys Cycle Challenge

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Happy Birthday: Keke Rosberg, Tim Cahill, Andrew Flintoff

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[L-R] Flintoff, Rosberg, Cahill.

Finland has been an unlikely looking source of Formula One talent for the last 30 years and Rosberg, who turns 67 today, was the first to make his mark on the sport.

Rosberg was a major force in the early 1980s, winning the 1982 World Drivers’ Championship at the wheel of a Williams.

His legacy in the sport continues into the present day, son Nico the current team-mate of Lewis Hamilton in the unstoppable Mercedes team. Keke had a late start in F1, debuting at the age of 29.

He steadily made his way up the grid from Theodore, ATS, Wolf and Fittipaldi until the retirement of Alan Jones left a plum seat open at Williams, his consistency taking him to victory in 1982.

After retirement in 1986, he went on to manage future Finnish world champion Mika Hakkinen and provided guidance for his son’s emergence into the sport in 2006.

1977: Andrew Flintoff, former England cricket captain and one of the finest all-rounders of the last 20 years (38).

1979: Tim Cahill, Australia and Shanghai Shenhua forward who gained stardom while playing for Everton (36).

1982: Alberto Contador, one of six cyclists who have won all three Grand Tours but career tainted by doping (33).

1992: Johnny Manziel, outstanding college footballer who plays quarterback for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns (23).

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