Saturday, 19 November MARINA BAY (Singapore): Team UAE’s Ahmed Al Hameli will line up in pole position for tomorrow’s F1H2O Nations Cup Singapore Grand Prix after posting the fastest time in this morning’s official qualifying session.
After struggling in practice yesterday the UAE star bounced back with a string of impressive times, his best, 35.33secs set late in the one hour session, enough to edge out the team’s Middle East rivals. “I am much happier today. We fixed the problems we had with the boat, switched propellers and found a good set-up. Now we have to convert this into a win tomorrow.”
Team Qatar’s Khalid Al Shamlan produced his best time of the weekend, 36.20ses, to go second quickest and finds himself sandwiched between two UAE drivers for tomorrow’s start - Al Hameli’s teammate Majed Al Mansoori also improving considerably over yesterday’s practice times to go third fastest.
But the drama of the morning unfolded at the end of free practice, delaying the start of qualifying by 15 minutes, with Team Brunei’s Nordin Bin Haji Mohamad barrel rolling on turn five, his excursion almost immediately followed by a repeat performance by Team South Africa’s Timothy Fetherstonhaugh at the other end of the course. Both drivers were uninjured, and whilst both boats will be repaired in time for tomorrow’s race, they miss this afternoon’s Match Race, all but putting both countries out of the running for the overall Team win this weekend.
Despite watching his teammate limp off the circuit, minus his cowling, Ismail bin Haji Kabon gave the team something to cheer, posting the fourth fastest time and finishing ahead of yesterday’s pace setter, Team South Africa’s Mark Shepherd, who simply said “I just wasn’t quick enough today.”
Of the inter-family rivalries being played out on the water, Team Finland’s Risto Painio qualified in sixth place, his daughter Meeri managing only 15th, Team Malaysia’s Kane Fernandez out-paced his Father, Robert and the in-house battle in Team Hungary saw Viktor finish ahead of younger brother Kornel, the pair qualifying in 10th and 12th respectively.
Just one of the driver’s out on the water for qualifying, Team Brazil’s Lebos Chaguri, failed to make the cut for this afternoon’s Match Race – Haji Mohamad and Fetherstonhaugh side lined after crashing out in practice.
F1H2O Nations Cup – official qualifying
16UAEAhmed Al Hameli35.33s24QatarKhalid Al Shamlan36.20s35UAEMajed Al Mansoori36.87s410BruneiIsmail bin Hj Kabon37.53s57South AfricaMark Shepherd37.60s614FinlandRisto Painio38.44s716MalaysiaKane Fernandez38.75s83QatarKhalid Al Kuwari38.76s918BrazilPaul Gaiser38.86s1022HungaryViktor Vo39.08s1112SingaporeLarry Chua Wen Zheng39.52s1221HungaryKornel Vo39.97s1315MalaysiaRobert Fernandez40.54ss1411SingaporeLaurence Wong Seong44.44s1513FinlandMeeri Painio45.43s1619Saudi ArabiaNaeem al Kedawi45.74s1717BrazilLebos Chaguri46.50188South AfricaTomthy FetherstonhaughDNS199BruneiNordin bin Haji MohamadDNS