ABU DHABI- After an early season marred by race postponements, date changes and cancellations, Team Abu Dhabi is preparing to get its world powerboat racing season underway with a hectic autumn and winter of international events in both the UIM F1 H20 World Championship and the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.
The team is relishing the prospect of using a brand new, American-built, 48-foot MTi race boat for the first time in the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship and this has now been completed and is currently being transported to the Spanish island of Ibiza for its Class 1 racing debut on September 5-7.
Ibiza is the first round of the revised Class 1 racing season and driver Faleh Al-Mansoori and throttleman Rashid Al-Tayer then hope to use Team Abu Dhabi’s newly-liveried racing weapon at subsequent rounds of the series in Italy and the UAE, where they will be joined by MTi owner and founder and former Class 1 front-runner Randy Scism and his support team.
Both Al-Mansoori and Al-Tayer tested the new boat at the start of August on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks in the USA before it was shipped to Europe. The boat is powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 1100 engines delivering 850hp as per Class 1 rules.
The Class 1 racing programme is just one string to the ambitious Team Abu Dhabi bow and the team that is based at the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) is also targeting a late challenge for honours in the prestigious UIM F1 H20 World Championship.
Team drivers Thani Al-Qamzi and Ahmed Al-Hameli missed the early season race in Doha, but the addition of a second Qatar race in the calendar in November has boosted their chances of taking the World Championship fight to the Qatar Team. Both Al-Qamzi and Al-Hameli are hoping for a successful late season of F1 H20 racing, where four Grand Prix have been shoehorned into the calendar between the start of October and December.
Al-Qamzi and Al-Hameli begin their 2014 F1 H20 campaign at the Grand Prix of China in Liuzhou on October 5-6 and then head to Qatar on November 14-15 and on to the UAE for the final two races of the season in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in December.
“We had a tough time of it in 2013,” said Team Abu Dhabi team manager Scott Gillman. “With Ahmed returning from surgery and not feeling 100% well last year and Thani not feeling comfortable in his set-up for most of the season we had a disappointing season. I guarantee that this will not happen again.
“This team and its total organisation have a lot of pride and we were frustrated at the end of the season last December. We evaluated everything and now I feel we are climbing back out of our depression and ready to push harder than ever.”
The exciting news that Team Abu Dhabi will be returning to the water comes at the time when the team has also announced a continued two-year agreement with Etihad Airways as the official carrier and sponsor. Team Abu Dhabi runs under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, advisor to the Head of State and chairman of the board of directors of the ADIMSC.
Team Abu Dhabi has amassed 29 Grand Prix wins and three drivers’ world titles in its 15 years of competition in the UIM F1 H20 World Championship and Gillman and the team are hoping that this success will also spread to the Team UAE line-up that has been entered in the UIM Nations Cup and to the UIM F-4S Championship team.
Rashed Al-Qemzi and Mohamed Al-Mehairbi will represent Team UAE in the UIM Nations Cup in Abu Dhabi in December and Rashed Al-Remaithi will join Al-Mehairbi in the Team Abu Dhabi line-up for the UIM F-4S Championship races for the Eurofin Trophy that run in conjunction with the remaining four rounds of the UIM F1 H20 World Championship.