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Al Qemzi rallies, Wyatt secures Sharjah pole in Sardinia

June 15, 2024 / 5:09 PM
Sharjah 24: Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al Qemzi delivered a reminder that he remains a threat in the 2024 UIM F1H2O World Championship today as Sharjah Team’s Rusty Wyatt secured pole position for the Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy.
Al Qemzi, who scored his last Grand Prix victory in Olbia two years ago, gave himself a fighting chance of a repeat performance tomorrow afternoon with a gutsy performance to qualify second in difficult conditions.

Canadian Wyatt, the first-round winner in Indonesia and lying second in the championship, edged out the Veteran Emirati driver in the six-boat qualifying shoot-out for his ever first pole success.

With reigning world champion Jonas Andersson qualifying down in fourth, one spot ahead of Victory Team’s championship leader, Erik Stark, the stage is set for an intriguing Grand Prix battle to decide the third round of the series on the Mediterranean Island.

Al Qemzi, driving a brand-new boat, is determined to lead Team Abu Dhabi’s recovery in Sardinia following a difficult start to the season, and he will be hoping to inspire young team-mate Alberto Comparato, who qualified in tenth place.

“It was a good race day,” said Al Qemzi. “In the morning it was flat water, before the wind got stronger for qualifying. But I was happy with my boat in the conditions. It was close in the end – nothing much between first and second. 
“There was rough water out there and I didn’t want to crash the boat, with a long race ahead. Everything is under control.”

Eager to build on his record of ten Grand Prix victories and 45 podium finishes since his debut in 2000, Al Qemzi had recorded the fifth fastest time in the first qualifying session, with Comparato in seventh place as Wyatt set the early pace.

With the wind picking up and gusting across the 1500m course as the second qualifying phase got under way, American Brent Dillard became the first victim of the toughening conditions as he crashed out spectacularly.

Al Qemzi initially led the timings before Wyatt edged him out of top spot and went through first into the shoot-out ahead of the Emirati driver, and Frenchman Peter Morin who recorded the third fastest lap.

After taking his career points haul in the championship past the 1,000-mark at the second round in Vietnam, Al Qemzi would like nothing more than a 11th career win tomorrow to revive his individual prospects, as well as those of Team Abu Dhabi’s in the team title race.

He was later looking to boost his challenge by collecting maximum bonus points from the second of the day’s sprint races.



June 15, 2024 / 5:09 PM

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