The Qatar Team’s Alex Carella and Shaun Torrente and members of the Qatar Team’s F1 H20 team are in China this weekend preparing for Tuesday s 18th Grand Prix of China on Liuzhou’s Liu River in south-eastern China.
The fourth round of the UIM F1 H20 World Championship has been switched to a Monday and Tuesday for the first time and the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF)-backed team is leaving nothing to chance for the critical race that will go a long way in determining the outcome of this year’s championship.
Carella is the defending World Champion and heads to China lying third in the Drivers’ Championship, a mere two points behind second-placed Finn Sami Selio and 11 points behind Team Abu Dhabi s Ahmed Al-Hameli.
But, with the shock news that Al-Hameli has been forced to miss the China race through illness, Carella knows that he must capitalise on the Emirati s absence and close the gap in the championship. Torrente, meanwhile, has been the form driver in recent races, but a cruel mechanical failure cost him a near-certain victory at the last race in Ukraine and he is due a few days of better luck.
“The news about Ahmed missing the race does not change our strategy at all,” confirmed Khalid bin Arhama AL-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the QMSF, which runs under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani.
“We were ahead of the championship leader at the last two races in any case, but Shaun had no luck at all, so the strategy is to keep ahead of everyone. I believe in Shaun s ability and I am sure that he and Alex will do well in China.
“For Alex, he will need to do the same as he did in Kazan. He needs to claim the pole position and win the race. We have not tested since the last race in Kiev, but we have a good record in Liuzhou and I hope we have luck on our side this time and we can confirm a one-two finish on Tuesday.”
Khalid Abdullah Al-Kuwari will represent the Qatar Team in the two UIM F-4S races that precede F1 qualifying and the Grand Prix of China on Monday and Tuesday. The Qatari currently holds equal sixth position in the competitive feeder formula for the F1 H20 series and is keen to improve on his position next week.
England’s Matthew Palfreyman has been the form driver this year so far in the F-4S category and currently has a 20-point lead over Team Sweden’s Jesper Forss in the 12-race championship.
The on-course action – at the fifth Liuzhou race since the venue entered the series in 2008 – begins on Monday morning at 09.30 hrs (04.30hrs Doha time) with a free practice session and time trials for the F-4S competitors. This precedes 30 minutes of practice for the F1 boats and the first 20-minute F-4S race, which starts at 13.30hrs.
Qualifying for the F1 teams starts at 15.00hrs (10.00hrs Doha time). Carella currently leads the UIM F1 H20 Pole Position Championship by seven points from team-mate Torrente.
Tuesday’s (October 2nd) action starts with further free practice and time trials for the F-4S entrants and F1 free practice from 10.15hrs. The second of the F4S races begins at 11.30hrs and the F1 H20 Grand Prix of China gets underway at 15.05hrs (10.05hrs Doha time).
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