Boat 36 proved to be resilient even after seeing sister boat Team Abu Dhabi 35 drop back to fifth with engine issues. Thani Al-Qamzi, double UIM F1 H2O world champion Alex Carella, Majed Al-Mansoori and Italian Tullio Abbate led the opening race when luck deserted them.
The two boats then took part in a second endurance race yesterday and Team Abu Dhabi 36 finished third overall after, with Boat 35 down in fifth position. New Star 20 held on to the lead to claim outright victory from Navicart Racing after finishing six laps ahead.
“Winning the first of the races was a great start to the weekend for the entire team,” said a delighted Salem Al Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC). “The race was close and they all made a superb contribution to a great team effort.”
It was far from easy for Team Abu Dhabi in the first race. New Star 20 led after the first hour, with the eventual winners in third place.
Navikart Racing gained the upper hand overtaking Boat 35 after 94 laps. Boat 36 maintained third and New Star fourth. After 137 laps, Team Abu Dhabi 35 held the lead from their team-mates and Navikart, but a mere two laps separated the top three boats in what was developing into a thrilling race.
Navikart regained the advantage after 182 laps and headed into the fifth hour leading Team Abu Dhabi 36 by three.
New Star 22 then snatched the lead after 216 laps. They were a single lap in front of Boat 36, only for Team Abu Dhabi to hit the front and claim a stunning win for the ADIMSC.
In the race at Necko Lane, Team Abu Dhabi will line up with boats 35 and 36 in the S2 class, with double UIM F1 H2O world champion Alex Carella, teaming up with the Emirati duo of Thani Al Qamzi and Majed Al Mansoori with the experienced Italian Tullio Abbate at the helm of Team Abu Dhabi 35.
Rashid Al-Tayer, Mohammed Al Mehairbi, Rashid Al Qamzi and Faleh Al Mansoori form an all-Emirati Team Abu Dhabi 36.
Al Qamzi and Al Mehairbi kept their hand in with racing action on Lake Lugano two weekends ago and finished sixth and 14th overall in a rain-delayed UIM F2 Championship race at the Italian enclave of Campione d’Italia.
“This is another exciting challenge for Team Abu Dhabi and an excellent opportunity to gain more experience in the endurance discipline that will improve fitness and give our drivers even more time in a racing environment,” said Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.
“This a famous race with a proud tradition and we are delighted to be here to compete with a strong line-up of drivers that did us so proud at Rouen earlier this summer.”
Carella added: “This is an important race for Team Abu Dhabi because we want to try and win the World Endurance Championship.”
With most of the racing schedule put back to Sunday because of heavy rain, Abu Dhabi duo Rashed Al Qamzi and Mohammed Al Mehairbi were left with a busy timetable of racing at the stunning Italian enclave on Lake Lugano.
They went on to reach the chequered flag in sixth and 14th positions respectively, with the race victory falling to Sweden’s Pierre Lundin.
England’s Matt Palfreyman claimed second place ahead of Sweden’s Erik Edin who was a distant third.
In overcast and gloomy conditions, Al Qamzi and Al Mehairbi lined up on the starting grid sixth and 20th in the Team Abu Dhabi No35 and 36 boats.
Lundin of Sweden and Palfreyman made the early running from the front of the field, with Al Qamzi holding on to sixth while Al Mehairbi slipped back to 20th before impressively climbing back up to 15th.
Lundin maintained a slender lead over Palfreyman at the front of the field and Edin overhauled Alberto Comparato to snatch third during the 45-lap race.
At the halfway point Lundin led Palfreyman by just two seconds. After losing sixth place briefly, Al Qamzi had overtaken Stefan Hagin and retaken sixth, while Al Mehairbi also rose to 14th.
There were no changes within the top 10 through 27 laps, although Lundin had extended his lead over Palfreyman and Nick Bisterfield snatched fourth place from Comparato on the next tour of the Lake Lugano course.
Al Qamzi and Al Mehairbi held their grip on their spots with Stefan Hagin dropping out of the top 10.
There was no late drama for Lundin who held on to take a wire to wire win from Palfreyman by an eventual margin of 10.5 seconds.
“The weather interruption was unfortunate, but it was the same for everyone and it meant a lot of the racing was crammed into one day,” said Salem Al-Romaithi, assistant general manager of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC).
“It was a new experience for Rashed and Mohammed to follow on from the challenges they faced in Rouen. They both delivered excellent performances against a very strong field of European racers and this bodes extremely well for the future.”