TEAM ABU DHABI DUO TARGET INDONESIA BONUS POINTS AFTER ANDERSSON CLINCHES POLE POSITION


(MENAFN- Mid-East) The new Team Abu Dhabi pairing of Thani Al Qemzi and Alberto Comparato will look to shrug off a difficult start to the 2024 UIM F1H2O World Championship after Jonas Andersson claimed poled position today for the Grand Prix of Indonesia.

Young Italian driver Comparato looked to be enjoying a superb debut for the multiple world team title winners when he edged out reigning champion Andersson to set the fastest time in the morning's free practice session on volcanic Lake Toba in Sumatra.

His day was brought to a premature end however when he hit a buoy at the end of the first of the three qualifying sessions, forcing his retirement with a broken engine.

Team-mate Al Qemzi was unable to claim a place in the top six shoot out, eventually qualifying in ninth place, meaning both he and Comparato will face a battle to climb through the field in Sunday's Grand Prix.

The Abu Dhabi duo will first aim to grab an early chance to bounce back in tomorrow morning's back-to-back sprint races, which for the first time offer the bonus of championship points.

Andersson began his title defence by marginally edging out Victory Team's Erik Stark to clinch pole position, while Canadian rookie Rusty Wyatt clocked the third quickest lap on his first appearance for the new Sharjah team.

Team Abu Dhabi veteran Al Qemzi, twice a runner up in the drivers' title race after making his debut back in 2000, will be starting his 154th Grand Prix on Sunday as he looks to add to a career haul of 45 podium finishes, including ten race wins.

The tenacious Emirati still has the belief that he can capture a first world drivers' crown, and he is determined to play his part in returning the team championship to Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club, after a run of six titles in seven seasons came to an end last year.

Team Abu Dhabi manager Guido Cappellini believes his vast experience can help him form a winning combination with new boy Comparato, who is at the other end of his career after following in the footsteps of father Fabio to make his F1H2O debut in 2019.

Taking the place of three-time world champion Shaun Torrente following his decision to stand down, the talented young Italian claimed a first pole position in San Nazzaro in 2021 and a first podium finish in Sharjah the following year, and is one of the sport's rising stars.

After his disappointment in today's qualifying series, the Team Abu Dhabi technicians were fitting a new engine to his boat, and as a result he will start at the back of the field on the 2,218m circuit on Sunday.

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