Wednesday, 6 December, ABU DHABI (UAE): Championship leader Alex Carella eased his way through this afternoon’s free practice session unscathed as the weight of expectation on the Team Abu Dhabi drivers’ shoulders builds ahead of this week’s UIM F1H2O Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.
Carella, who leads the title race by 16 points and can seal a fourth world title if he wins on his 50th Grand Prix start, settled for running just ten laps in the 90 minute session, his best time of 44.55s putting him in seventh spot.
But it was Carella’s championship rival, CTIC F1 Shenzhen China’s Philippe Chiappe who topped the time sheets around the 1.973km Abu Dhabi circuit.
Chiappe made his intentions clear that he is not going to give up his title without a fight, completing 25 laps and leaving it late into the session before going fastest with a 43.73s lap, the only driver to go sub 44 seconds.
Victory’s Shaun Torrente reeled off 44 laps and was rewarded in the closing minutes with the second best time of 44.14s, with Sweden’s Erik Stark, currently sitting in second place in the championship standings third quickest.
Emirates Racing’s Marit Stromoy produced one of her strongest sessions of the season going fourth quickest ahead of Chiappe’s teammate Peter Morin, with Jonas Andersson completing the top six.
1. P Chiappe (fra) – 43.75s
2. S Torrente (usa/uae*) – 44.14s
3. E Stark (swe) – 44.16s
4. M Stromoy (nor) – 44.43s
5. P Morin (fra) – 44.48s
6. J Andersson (swe) – 44.51s
7. A Carella (ita/uae*) – 44.55s
8. A Al Hameli (uae) – 44.66s
9. R Al Qemzi (uae) – 45.03s
10. G Trask (aus) – 45.47s
(*international racing super licence)
For full classifications: http://f1h2o.com/results/2017/grand-prix-of-abu-dhabi/f1h2o