Team Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al Hameli claimed the final podium position behind Frenchman Philippe Chiappe and the Qatar Team’s Shaun Torrente at the penultimate round of the UIM F1 H2O Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Chiappe had claimed the first pole position of his career on Thursday and fended off a challenge from Torrente throughout the 37-lap race.
The pair pulled clear of the chasing pack and Al Hameli was the leader of that group throughout to record the best result of the season for Team Abu Dhabi.
The Emirati had passed Erik Stark early in the race to move up from fourth.
Team-mate Thani Al Qamzi began the race from 14th and moved through the tail-enders to seal ninth position.
“The dream was to take a home win for Sheikh Sultan and my team, but we are happy with a podium finish against such strong opposition,” said Al Hameli.
Mohammed Al Mehairbi and Rashid Al Remeithi, meanwhile, started from the rear of the field for the 20-lap UIM F-4S Trophy race, finishing in eighth and ninth overall.
Australian Briney Rigby won her second race in as many days and maintains an outside chance of pipping Germany’s Mike Szymura to the 2014 title.
Chiappe lined up on pole and kept his lead through the buoy and the first lap, with Al Hameli passing Stark to move into third place.
Chiappe was not going to give his lead away without a fight and the Frenchman continued to edge away from Torrente and Al Hameli.
Torrente had no answer to the Frenchman’s pace at the front and Al Hameli continued to fend off the challenge from Sami Selio and Alex Carella for third place.
Al Hameli had the bit between his teeth in the morning’s one hour free practice and set the fastest lap of 46.47sec.
Norway’s Marit Stromoy was his closest challenger with a best time of 46.72sec.
Rigby was quickest in the morning practice with a best lap of 1min 01.05sec and both Al Mehairbi and Al Remeithi knew they would need to up their performances in the time trial to qualify for a better position for the second F-4S Trophy race.
Rigby maintained her pace to claim pole with a best lap of 1min 00.22sec, but the Team Abu Dhabi duo were down in eighth and 10th.
The Australian led from the start and overcame an opening lap yellow flag incident and an accident involving Bincheng Wu to pull away from her rivals.
Al Mehairbi and Al Remeithi were down in seventh and ninth as the 20-lap race reached the halfway point and they maintained their positions through 12 laps.
Rigby reached the chequered flag ahead of her rivals to secure a second F-4S Trophy race of the weekend, with Qatar’s Khalid Abdullah Al Kuwari in second place.
Al Mehairbi and Al Remeithi reached the finish in eighth and ninth after the former was passed by Lithuanian’s Mickus Sigitas.
The final round will be held in Sharjah from December 18-19.
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