Team Abu Dhabi is totally focused on completing a rare double heading into the Grand Prix of Sharjah, the final round on the 2017 UIM F1H2O World Championship being held in Sharjah this weekend.
Rashid Al Qamzi has already pocketed the UIM Formula 2 world crown earlier this year and Team Abu Dhabi’s Italian driver Alex Carella is in pole position for a personal fourth world crown as he leads the Formula 1 drivers’ standings with 70 points. Carella has to stay clear of trouble and finish the race on the podium, and the points earned will be sufficient for him to finish clear of three-time defending world champion Philippe Chiappe and take a fourth world title on the Khalid Lagoon, on Friday.
Chiappe, who is breathing down Carella’s neck in second place with 59 points following his ninth career race win last week in Abu Dhabi, has to register an outright win and claim all 20 points and then hope his Italian challenger to the crown ends outside a podium finish.
“This is a rare yet fantastic opportunity for Team Abu Dhabi and we can safely say that we are 99 per cent assured of the world title as everything seems to be in our favour at the moment going into the final round in Sharjah,” Guido Cappellini, Team Abu Dhabi Manager, told Gulf News.
“For me personally, the most important thing is to win a world crown for the sake of the team. Everyone has worked hard and we have the F2 title with Rashid finishing ahead of 31 drivers from across the world. And now we need just enough points to ensure Alex wins the F1 title to finish the season on a high,” the former ten-time F1 world champion added.
“This is a world championship and it is never going to be easy for the drivers. Alex has to stay clear of trouble and finish at least third while ensuring his boat is not involved in any stupid problem. The team has worked very hard and the boat is at peak performance and we need this world title to cap off an incredible year for Team Abu Dhabi,” Capellini noted.
Carella acknowledged the challenge before him. “It’s perhaps the most important race for me. But it has to be a race that is totally safe. It is like me doing a race all by myself, steering clear of trouble and finishing on the podium to ensure a world crown for my team,” he said.
“The boat has a perfect set-up and it is all in our hands now. We need to get the boat home in the top three and we are done,” the Italian added.
Besides Chiappe, there are a few more drivers who could spoil things for the front-runners. This includes former two-time Sharjah winner Ahmad Al Hameli and last year’s winner Shaun Torrente as both Victory Team drivers have nothing to lose while chasing their team’s first win of the year.
Also in the fray will be Thani Al Qamzi, a three-time winner on the Khalid Lagoon, who can play a massive role in helping Abu Dhabi regain the Team’s Championship. And after seeing his title hopes end in Abu Dhabi, Sweden’s Erik Stark will be looking to end his year on a high and to at least secure his current third place in the championship standings.