DOHA: Team Belarus deprived Team Italy of glory in a thrilling climax to a weather-interrupted UIM Nations Cup on Doha Bay yesterday.
Team Italy began the final morning with a seven-point advantage over Team Russia in the points’ standings and a pair of stunning sprint race victories for Stefano Paoletti was sufficient for the Italian to claim the individual glory.
Accidents in the first race for Team Russia’s Mikhail Kitashev and Dmitry Malkin wrecked their chances of winning the UIM Nations Cup and, when Dmitry Vandyshev was yellow-carded for dangerous driving in the second sprint race and withdrew, it appeared that Team Italy had won. But Marco Gambi was struggling with ongoing engine problems at the rear of the field and the Italian didn’t finish enough laps to score points towards the Team Italy tally.
Vandyshev, on the other hand, had completed 20 of the 24 laps and was awarded 15 points; a decision that handed UIM Nations Cup victory to Team Belarus by a single point. Team Qatar suffered a disappointing day; other commitments forced Abdullah Ghulam Ali to miss both of the sprint races and Khalid Abdullah Al Kuwari could only manage sixth and fourth places.
Today, the F1 and F-4S racers take centre stage on Doha Bay. The Qatar Team’s three-time world champion Alex Carella and team-mate Shaun Torrente begin their challenge for honours with free practice and qualifying, although they were able to carry out extra free practice yesterday.
Khalid Abdullah Al Kuwari and Mohammed Al Obaidly will represent the Qatar Team in the first of two UIM F-4S races for the Eurofin Trophy.