Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella and David Del Pin will have to wait until today to take part in the time trials to qualify for this afternoon’s Grand Prix of Qatar on Doha Bay.
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Blustery conditions and huge waves yesterday prompted race officials to postpone the qualifying.
Sixteen boats will line up at the start of the opening round of the 2015 UIM F1 H2O World Championship and Del Pin, from Mariano Lagunare in Italy, replaced Team Abu Dhabi star Thani Al Qamzi at the last minute after the Emirati withdrew for personal reasons.
“It’s obviously disappointing not to be able to qualify and spend more time at race speed in the boat, but we had a good chance to drive the boat in the morning’s free practice and I was quite happy with my performance,” said three-time world champion Carella.
The two Italians settled in quickly with their new team and both Carella and Del Pin posted competitive times in the delayed practice session.
Team Qatar’s Shaun Torrente posted the quickest lap of the session with a time of 46.77 seconds.
Carella and Del Pin posted times of 48.78 seconds and 49.35 seconds and were classified in second and third.
Rashed Al Remeithi replaced Rashed Al Qemzi for Team Abu Dhabi’s F-4S Trophy campaign, but race officials cancelled both the F-4S time trials and the opening race because of the wind.
Qatar Team’s Mohammed Al Obaidly had been quickest in practice that was cut short when Italian rookie Elisa Leidi flipped her boat.
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Rachele Bruni maintained her fine form with a second straight win at the FINA/HOSA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup while Axel Reymond claimed gold in the men’s race in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Buoyed by her victory in last month’s opening leg in Viedma, Argentina, the Italian clocked 2:07:31.08 at the Corniche Breakwater. She finished ahead of China’s Yan Siyu (2:07:34.05) and 2008 silver Olympic medallist Keri-Ann Payne (02:07:37.04).
After 8km in windy conditions, Payne led the race with Bruni breathing down her neck. But ahead of the final lap, Bruni overtook the Briton and proved to be too strong for her rivals as she celebrated by pumping her fists in the air at the finish.
Despite missing out on gold, Payne had no complaints.
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“It is always good to have a good result, especially in a World Cup and in such a good field,” said the 27-year-old, who will compete in the next leg in Cancun (Mexico) as she aims to qualify for July’s World Championships in Kazan.
“We had Poliana Okimoto in there; we had a lot of the Italians and Spanish as well. So it was great to come away with bronze.”
In the men’s event, Reymond later admitted he was surprised to win his first World Cup gold in the UAE capital.
“It was great to come away with bronze” – Payne
The 21-year-old Frenchman was not even in the top three after the 8km mark, but found his rhythm as the race went on. And with 200m to go, he went from strength to strength to clock 1:57:52.1.
Behind him, Britain’s Jack Burnell, Andreas Waschburger and Christian Reichert collected the silver and bronze medals respectively. In a thrilling finish, Burnell edged Reichert to claim silver by the slimmest of margins after a video replay as both crossed the finish line at 1:57:53.6.
Alex Carella, the Italian two-time UIM F1 H20 World Champion, has joined Team Abu Dhabi and will take part in this weekend’s Grand Prix of Qatar in Doha Bay.
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The former Qatar Team stalwart joins forces with mentor and 10-time World Champion Guido Cappellini, who was recently appointed Team Abu Dhabi manager. Carella will link up with the Thani Al Qamzi as the Italian bids for a fourth world title.
“I am thrilled to be joining Team Abu Dhabi,” said Carella, a veteran of 32 Grand Prix. “I have often thought about this team in the past and they know exactly the meaning of professionalism and competing at the highest level. I know this race in Qatar well and will be aiming to get my new career off to a winning start."
Team Abu Dhabi general manager Salem Rumaithi said: “Alex is one of the finest racers in the world and probably the best of his generation.
“We are delighted that he has joined our team and we can now benefit from the talents of Thani and Alex this season.”
Al Qamzi is a veteran of 110 Grand Prix and is delighted to have Carella as his team-mate for the new season.
“Alex joining the team gives me a strong motivation to succeed. I have enjoyed competing against him for several years when he was an integral member of the Qatar Team and it is great that we are now team-mates and will be working together for Team Abu Dhabi.”
Practice and time trails will take tomorrow (Friday) and the 2015 Grand Prix of Qatar will get under way on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, Team Russia’s Andrei Panyushkin and Konstantin Ustinov won the 2015 UIM Nations Cup World Series in Qatar yesterday (Wednesday).
The duo were first and fifth in the opening race and second and third in Race 2 to confirm overall victory from Team Belarus and Team Germany.
Team UAE’s Rashed Al Qemzi was the sole entrant in the Emirati team and was impressive in both sprint races.
In Race 1, Al Qemzi stormed through from the rear of the field to snatch third, but was deprived of second overall in Race 2 when he was penalised a lap and slipped to 10th after striking a turn buoy. Team UAE’s Rashed Al Remeithi withdrew to enable Al Qemzi to fight for outright victory in the No14 boat.