Al Hameli eyes Portugal GP victory
Ahmad al Hameli will be looking to repeat his victory last year when he starts third behind the 2009 American world champion Jay Price and the Italian Francesco Cantando in today's Portugal Grand Prix, the opening race of the 2010 UIM Formula One World Championship. Al Hameli's senior teammate and last year's runner up behind the 10-time Italian world champion Guido Cappellini, Thani al Qamzi suffered technical problems at the end of the first session and will start in 13th position. "I knew that the time trials would be tough, but our team also knew that it was so important to do well if we are to achieve the goal of reaching the podium and maybe even winning the race outright," said al Hameli. Al Hameli laid down the gauntlet with an early lap of 40.17secs on the demanding 1.8km, five-pin course, with Price slotting in behind him, as the wind strengthened when the remainder of the field headed out on to the water. Al Qamzi managed to slot into fifth position before the end of the first session, but he ground to a halt in the dying seconds of the stint with a technical problem. "It's a toss-up who will win the opener," al Qamzi was quoted on the official UIM website. "As long as it's Ahmad or myself it doesn't really matter just a Team Abu Dhabi victory and we'll all be very happy." Price edged ahead of Cantando and Duarte Benavente in the opening minutes of the final qualifying trial and al Hameli held seventh when a yellow flag was raised to enable the rescue team to secure a stray buoy. Qualifying was stopped a minute after the resumption when Price flipped his DAC at speed and al Hameli passed Alex Carella in the dying minutes to seize fifth place and then passed Benavente with a lap of 42.67secs to snatch an excellent third overall. Today's 12th grand prix of Portugal gets underway at 5pm UAE time after teams have been allowed to carry out a further one hour of free practice in the morning.
* Compiled by Amith Passela with agencies
Published: May 9, 2010 04:00 AM