Tuesday, 3 December, ABU DHABI (UAE): Qatar’s Khalid Al Kuwari benefitted from two jump starts by the UAE’s Rashed Al Qemzi in the final to win his second Nations Cup Match Race, with series debutants Italy’s Stefano Paoletti and Marco Gambi meeting each other in the third and fourth place race-off, with Paoletti coming out on top.
Today’s results puts Team Italy at the top of the points table on 38, one point ahead of the UAE, to lead the UIM Nations Cup Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Russia and Norway tied in third place on 27 points.
After a bye in the first round Al Qemzi’s route to the final saw him get passed the young Norwegian Stian Slattedalen and then beat Paoletti in the semi-final.
Al Kuwari disposed of Saudia Arabia’s Saud Hamad in round 1, then Russia’s series newcomer Dmitry Malkin, beating Gambi in a very tight semi-final.
Al Kuwari lost the first leg of the final and then the second but was given another chance after Al Qemzi was seen to jump the start only for the young UAE driver to do it again, handing the win to Team Qatar.
There was disappointment for Team Lebanon’s Lebos Chaguri and Team Venezuela’s Antonino Spitaleri who both suffered steering problems which cut short their Match Race challenges.
Earlier in the day Al Qemzi led a UAE one-two in official qualifying which was yellow-flagged less than 10 minutes into the session when Qatar’s rookie driver Mohamad Al Obaidly blew his boat over on his third lap.
The Qatari driver was unhurt but unable to start the Match Race and is unlikely to take part in tomorrow’s two 20-minute sprint races, which all but ends Team Qatar’s chances of winning their first Nations Cup.
Al Qemzi and Mohamad Al Meharibi locked-out the top two spots and sat at the top of the time sheets throughout the one hour session, Al Qemzi’s time of 45.82 seconds just over two-tenths quicker than his teammate putting him on pole position for race 1.
Stefano Paoletti was impressive on his immediate Nations Cup debut setting the third fastest time for Italy, his teammate Marco Gambi going sixth quickest.
Qatar and now Abu Dhabi Match Race winner Khalid Al Kuwari posted the fourth best time ahead of the faster of the two Norwegians, Stian Slattedalen.
Team Italy head into tomorrow’s double-header with the first of two sprint races at 12.30hrs the second at 15.30hrs, leading the Grand Prix but it is Team Russia who remain out front in the overall Nations Cup points table on 121 points, three points ahead of Team UAE with Team Saudi Arabia in third.
ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX - MATCH RACE RESULTS
1. 11 Khalid Al Kuwari (qat) – 25pts
2. 2 Rashed Al Qemzi (uae) – 22pts
3. 14 Stefano Paoletti (ita) – 20pts
4. 13 Marco Gambi (ita) – 18pts
5. 8 Stian Slattedalen (nor) – 16pts
6. 1 Mohamad Al Mehairbi (uae) – 15pts…
NATIONS CUP ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX - OVERALL POINTS:
1. Team Italy – 38pts
2. Team UAE – 37pts
3= Team Russia – 27pts
3= Team Norway – 27pts
5. Team Qatar – 25pts
6. Team Saudi Arabia – 17pts
7. Team Venezuela – 12pts
8. Team Lebanon – 10pts
For the full set of results visit cuph2o.com