Dubai, UAE, May 21, 2018: Led by four-time defending world champion Alex Carella, Dubai’s Victory Team stayed confident of an all-out assault for the opening round of the 2018 UIM F1H2O World Championship in Portimao, Portugal.
Pushed into third and fourth on the start grid by Team Abu Dhabi going into the main race, both Alex Carella and Ahmed Al Hameli stayed confident they could even end up on the podium with a little bit of luck.
“The more time I spend in the boat, the more confident I feel about this new boat,” Alex Carella said after the BRM Qualifying session at the Grand Prix of Portimao in Portugal.
“I am confident we can both climb to the top of the standings as we keep getting better and better with each minute spent inside the new boats. Everything has been going as per plans and hopefully we can hit the right momentum in the main race,” added the latest Victory Team driver from Italy.
Backing Alex Carella in the second brand-new boat – fully built and assembled at the team’s facility in Jebel Ali – will be the talented Ahmed Al Hameli. After a life-threatening illness had pushed his powerboat career to the sidelines in 2012, Ahmed Al Hameli is back at his near best in his Boat No. 3.
“I love the fact that we have been competitive with these new boats so early in the season,” Ahmed Al Hameli admitted.
“I am quite excited going into the start of yet another season. It has been a brand-new path of growing up with the team and I am confident we can achieve success in our very first season for the new blue boats,” he added.
Drivers from UAE teams had hogged the limelight during BRM Qualifying on Saturday night with Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente coming home with the fastest lap of 41.68 seconds followed by teammate Thani Al Qemzi with a 41.75s lap, while the next two qualifying places had been taken by the Victory Team pair of Alex Carella (42.02s) and Ahmed Al Hameli (42.11s).
“We are very happy with the results shown by the new boats so far. Finishing in third and fourth so early in the season with brand-new boats is an early indication of what can come in the future,” Victory Team Manager Scott Gillman said.
“We know we can improve, and there is not much left to improve and get to the front. All we need is a little bit of luck to ensure we are there in front of the pack,” he added.
Joining the UAE powerhouses in the top-six shootout were CTIC F1 Shenzhen China duo of Philippe Chiappe and Peter Morin with the former four-time world champion Chiappe starting from fifth while his new teammate went on to pick up his best-ever qualifying position in sixth.
F1 Atlantic’s Duarte Benavente narrowly missed out on making it into the top-six shootout going seventh fastest ahead of Emirates Racing’s Marit Stromoy, with Francesco Cantando producing his best qualifying result in his Blaze in ninth ahead of Grant Trask and Team Abu Dhabi’s third boat with Rashid Al Qemzi.