Abu Dhabi look to extend World Championship top spot

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Alex Carella (c) after winning in France.

The Italian tops the World Drivers’ Championship on 35 points, 11 ahead of American Shaun Torrente, following his sensational victory at the Grand Prix of France two weekends ago.

Team Abu Dhabi also lead the Teams World Championship by eight points ahead of the CTIC F1 China Team.

The Grand Prix of Portugal takes place on the Arade River in Portimao on Sunday and Carella is determined to push home his advantage.

“This year it was our weekend in France but Shaun (Torrente) will be determined to get his revenge in Portugal and we have already been in contact through social media and both of us are looking forward to what promises to be another great battle,” said Carella.

After F-4S racing was omitted from the racing programme in Evian, meanwhile, Rashed Al Qamzi and Mohammed Al Mehairbi return to UIM F-4S Trophy racing action in Portugal on Saturday.

Al Qamzi is currently tied for the series lead with Ferdinand Zandbergen, after both the Emirati and the Dutchman took a third place and an outright win apiece at the two races in Dubai in March.

They are two points clear of Finland’s Kalle Viippo, while Al Mehairbi suffered his own fair share of disappointment in Dubai and is ninth with five points.

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Carella fends off Torrente to secure win for Team Abu Dhabi

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Alex Carella speeds away at the Grand Prix of France in Evian.

The Italian managed to fend off a fierce challenge from Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente on Evian’s Lac Leman Sunday afternoon.

Carella led from the start until lap 10, when the American hit the front. The Victory Team driver clouted a turn buoy soon after and was forced to run a drive through penalty lap after the turn buoys had been secured.

Carella regained the lead while Torrente regrouped to reach the chequered flag in third after passing Erik Stark with 11 laps to run.

Carella’s victory by the margin of 11.72 seconds gives him an 11-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship after two rounds and Team Abu Dhabi leads the CTIC China Team by eight points in the Teams’ Championship.

Carella had qualified in pole position for the race after a thrilling Q2 session. “We changed position a couple of times in the Q2 and, at the end, I see a chance on the last lap to take it and we fought and we got the pole position,” he said. “It was great for the time after the hard job they have done for the last few months.

“Taking the win is a fantastic feeling. I dedicate this win to the hard work put in by everyone by Team Abu Dhabi over the last few weeks. It’s a fantastic feeling to be leading the championship.”

With double World Champions Philippe Chiappe and Sami Selio both retiring and Jonas Andersson suffering engine issues, it opened the door for Finland’s Filip Roms to take a career-best second position. Cedric Deguisne also finished a career- best fourth behind Torrente.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi qualified in fourth and held his position for the first eight laps until a mechanical issue intervened and forced him down the leader board. The disappointed Emirati eventually retired and failed to pick up any championship points.

The UIM F1 H2O World Championship now heads to Portugal’s Algarve coast and the town of Portimao at the end of the month.

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Team Abu Dhabi bidding for glory at Grand Prix of France

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Rough conditions: Alex Carella.

Large winds and unsafe water conditions meant Saturday’s morning practice session was cut short and then stopped as officials were forced to postpone the qualifying session due to bad weather at Evian’s Lac Leman.

Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente was among the 18 pilots who took to the waters. He managed to do five laps around the 2.08km course to record the fastest lap of 1min and 06.644 secs before he was forced to stop.

Carella also experienced the conditions during practice and insists it was a tough day.

“The wave was too long,” he said, who completed nine laps with his fastest being in the second with 1min and 08.21 seconds.

His team-mate Al-Qamzi agreed. “It was too rough and quite dangerous,” he said. “It was not possible to push. I tried but did not want to risk the boat.”

This is the second round of the competition with Philippe Chiappe winning the opener in Dubai in March. And the Frenchman insists it would be a “risk” to compete if conditions don’t improve.

“It’s very bad out there,” he said. “Impossible to drive. It’s not a good idea to go out. It’s a lottery but the race is not. The conditions are getting worse. We risk too much in these conditions. If it is like this for qualifying we will not start.”

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