Wednesday, 20 November, DOHA (Qatar): Team Qatar’s Khalid Al Kuwari posted the fastest time of the day in today’s opening practice sessions of the inaugural UIM Nations Cup Qatar Grand Prix.
Al Kuwari took full advantage of being first out onto the water for the planned hour-long session in the afternoon, setting the quickest time of the session and the day, 46.16-seconds, around the 1475-meter four-pin course, before the inclement weather that had been predicted to hit the city and disrupt today’s timetable closed in.
As visibility out on Doha Bay worsened due to the torrential downpour, thunder rolled and lightning flashes lit up the city skyline, officials called time and abandoned the session bringing out the chequered flag after just 20 minutes.
Team UAE’s Mohamed Al Mehairbi improved on his time from the morning to go second quickest, three-tenths off his Qatari rival, with Norway’s Stian Slattendalen showing what he can do after engine problems hampered his and teammate Christian Carlsens’s morning efforts, going third quickest in 47.83-seconds.
Team Russia’s formidable four-man squad topped the time sheet in the morning with all four team members in action today; Andrey Paniushkin quickest with 46.62-seconds, his teammate Roman Vandyshev third fastest. Mikhail Kitashev and Dimitry Vandyshev were unable to match their efforts in the afternoon, going fourth and sixth fastest.
The morning session was interrupted after 41-minutes when Team UAE’s Nations Cup debutant Rashed Al Qemzi barrel-rolled on turn two, moments after posting the second fastest time, bringing out the yellow flag, the 21-year old student from Abu Dhabi emerging wet but unhurt.
Lebos Chaguri, opting to exercise his dual-nationality and run under the flag of Lebanon to mark the country’s recent entry into the UIM, posted the fifth best time in the morning but failed to get out in the afternoon. Team Saudi Arabia had a frustrating opening day managing just two laps, Saud Hamad recording the only time.
Weather permitting the teams will be back out on the water tomorrow at 11.00hrs for a one hour time trial to determine the starting line-up for the Match Race at 14.00hrs and the chance for them to post the first points of the week.