F1 powerboat veteran Gillman returns

Qatar has pole while suspension of Al Hameli forces cockpit change in the Grand Prix of Russia.

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Thani Al Qamzi and Scott Gillman of Team Abu Dhabi will start Sunday's Grand Prix of Russia from the sixth and eighth positions, respectively, after Saturday's timed trials on Nizhny Kaban Lake in Kazan.

Qatar's Alex Carella secured pole position for the third round of the UIM F1 H20 World Championship with a fastest lap of 44.63 seconds.

Al Qamzi quickly hit a competitive pace during the free practice session yesterday morning and recorded the second-fastest lap of 44.89, just behind Carella.

Gillman, a veteran driver who made his F1 debut in 1987 and has won four world titles, returned to the cockpit for Team Abu Dhabi in place of Ahmed Al Hameli, who travelled to Russia with the team but is suspended for this race after a driving infraction at the last round in Portugal. Gillman managed 29 laps in the practice sessions and had the 10th-quickest lap, at 48.44s.

The Team Abu Dhabi drivers reached the 10-boat field for the timed trials with solid performances in the first two qualifying sessions.

In the timed trials, Al Qamzi and Gillman held seventh and ninth, respectively, heading into the final five minutes. In the closing moments, Gillman managed to sneak into eighth with Al Qamzi moving into sixth position.

Also yesterday, at the BMW Norwegian Grand Prix in Arendal, Team Abu Dhabi's Majed Al Mansoori and Rashid Al Tayer finished fifth in the first grand prix race, the third race of this year's championship.

The new UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship pairing had qualified in fourth position for the race behind Victory 3 and the Spirit of Qatar 95 and 96 boats, and fought a close duel with Kim.com for fourth position before finishing fifth.

Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani and Steve Curtis led from the first lap in Spirit of Qatar 96 to clinch a deserved win after returning to Class 1 racing for the first time in two seasons in Abu Dhabi.

In qualifying for the second race of the Grand Prix, which takes place today, Team Abu Dhabi qualified in fifth position with Victory 3 managing to grab pole.

The Dubai team had been forced to sit out practice on Friday because their boat was found to be under the minimum length after a protest by the Spirit of Qatar 96 team.