Friday, 18 November, MARINA BAY (Singapore): South Africa and Qatar were the pace setters when teams took to the waters of Marina Bay for the first practice session of the inaugural F1H2O Nations Cup in Singapore.
A closely contested session saw 14 of the 20 boats post times, with less than two seconds splitting the top eight.
Team South Africa’s Mark Shepherd was quickly into his stride and led the session from the off, completing 21 laps and posting the quickest time, 37.42secs, around the 1.5km lap. Teammate Timothy Fetherstonhaugh backed up Team South Africa’s intent of challenging for overall honours this weekend, going third fastest in 38.11secs. “I was pleased with the way things have gone but I have a feeling the race itself will be a test of fitness as much as anything else. Without power steering it is hard work out there.” said Shepherd. “But I think there are opportunities for improving our times. When I first saw the course it looked easy but in fact there are places where you can make mistakes, drift wide, get out of position and lose time.”
Team Qatar’s number 1 driver Khalid Al Shamlan produced a strong showing late in the session, coming through to split the South African duo in a time of 37.83secs, with teammate Al Kuwari producing a solid performance going eighth fastest.
Ishmail bin Hj Kabon was Team Brunei’s only representative out on the water, and impressed going fourth fastest to finish ahead of the UAE’s Ahmed Al Hameli, the team struggling to find the optimum set-up throughout the session, with Team Hungary’s Viktor Vo completing the top six.
Tomorrow team’s face a hectic schedule with a second practice session immediately followed by official qualifying at 11.00hrs, with the top 16 going through to the F1H2O Nations Cup Match race at 15.30hrs.
F1H2O Nations Cup – first practice
1 7 South Africa / Mark Shepherd - 37.42s
2 4 Qatar / Khalid Al Shamlan - 37.83s
3 8 South Africa / Timothy Fetherstonhaugh - 38.11s
4 10 Brunei / Ismail bin Hj Kabon - 38.50s
5 6 UAE / Ahmed Al Hameli - 38.71s
6 22 Hungary / Viktor Vo - 38.80s
7 16 Malaysia / Kane Fernandez - 38.97s
8 3 Qatar / Khalid Al Kuwari -39.37s
9 15 Malaysia / Keith Fernandez - 40.08s
10 5 UAE / Majed Al Mansoori - 40.57s
11 12 Singapore / Laurence Wong Seong - 41.07s
12 11 Singapore / Larry Chua Wen Zheng - 41.14s
13 21 Hungary / Kornel Vo - 41.48s
14 18 Brazil / Paul Gaiser - 1.10.73s