Monday, 9 March, DOHA (Qatar): Andrei Panyushkin was the standout driver over today’s two ninety minute practice sessions, topping the time sheets in both for Team Russia.
Out of the 14 drivers it was Panyushkin who mastered the blustery winds and choppy conditions out on the 1,580metre, four-pin anticlockwise circuit on Doha Bay.
In the morning session Panyushkin enjoyed a fierce battle with Belarus’ Roman Vandyshev for top spot, taking the session by less than three-tenths with a 47.11s lap.
In the afternoon the Team Russia driver improved his time and was the only one to get under the 47 mark with 46.20s, his teammate Kostantin Ustinov third quickest in the morning but off the pace in the afternoon.
Vandyshev could not repeat his pace in the afternoon dropping his time, his teammate Dmitry Malkin failing to get out on the water in the morning session, managing just 11th quickest in the second session.
The second best time of the day was set by Nations Cup series newcomer Robert Lo Piano who ran a marathon afternoon session completing 54 laps, his time of 47.33s all the more impressive with the Italian making his circuit racing debut, his younger teammate Domenico Leidi posting top six times in both sessions.
Team Germany enjoyed a very solid first Nations Cup outing, Bernd Enzenhofer fourth quickest in the morning, Mike Szymura matching his position in the afternoon but winning the in-team bragging rights with the quicker time, 48.34s.
Despite some problems with his trim Khalid Al Kuwari improved his time in the afternoon by over six seconds with 49.82s to top the in-house times in Team Qatar, Mohammed Al Obaidly also improving considerably with 52.66s.
Team UAE’s star turn of 2013 Rashed Al Qemzi struggled with engine issues in the afternoon but posted fifth fastest earlier in the day, Rashed Al Remeithi clocking a very credible seventh quickest in the afternoon.
Both Saudi Arabia drivers Ahmed Saud Abdulaziz and Naeem Al Kedawi sat out the afternoon session, Al Kedawi the quickest in the morning but failing to break the one minute mark.
Teams and drivers face a busy day out on the water tomorrow with a one hour official qualifying session starting at 10:00hrs [local] followed by the Match Race at 14:00hrs.