*Rashid Al Mulla tops the points in Freestyle
Monday, 18 December, SHARJAH (UAE): Conditions on Khalid Lagoon were perfect for the all-important two-tiered official qualifying session that would determine the line ups for the first Moto of the UIM-ABP Aquabike Grand Prix of Sharjah on Tuesday, with all riders running in the first 15 minute session and the top ten going through into Q2 for a further 10 minutes.
Quinten Bossche, Emma-Nellie Ortendahl and James Bushell were the pace setters in today’s qualifying with the UAE’s Rashid Al Mulla taking the top spot in Freestyle.
The first group out onto the water was the 19-strong line up in Ski GP1 and it was championship leader Quinten Bossche who dominated both sessions and will start Moto 1 from pole position.
The Belgian rider topped the time sheets in Q1 with a 1:57.07s lap and improved by nearly four seconds in Q2 to take his third pole position of the season with a fastest time of 1:53.89s. Second quickest was the overall winner in Sharjah in the previous two years Kevin Reiterer, with the defending world champion who currently sits in third in the championship standings, Jeremy Poret, 0.93s down in third.
The surprise exit in Q1 was the rider currently in second place in the championship standings, Mickael Poret who will start from 12th and veteran racer Alberto Monti down in 14th. Marten Manni was very late out onto the water for Q2 and will be frustrated with his time of 2:01.65s and tenth place. Sultan Al Hammadi grabbed the bragging rights of the UAE riders in 15th spot edging Salman Alwadahi by a tenth of a second.
Championship leader Emma-Nellie Ortendahl made no mistakes in the Ladies division leading the field of nine throughout and easing through the first session by a margin of 4.48s from Jonna Borgstrom and Krista Uzare and then sealed pole position in Q2 on her first flying lap with a 1:56.63s lap.
Her main rival in the title race Estelle Poret picked up her pace in Q2 to go second quickest with 1:59.79s ahead of Dubai pole–sitter Katrin Nilbe in third.
As was to be expected the fight for the pole in Runabout was between the world ranked top three and after taking it relatively easy in the first session posting the fifth best time, title challenger James Bushell stepped it up a gear or three and was the only rider to break the 1:50 barrier to take pole position with a blistering 1:48.45s lap.
The man ahead of Bushell in the points Lars Akerblom went second quickest with a 1:51.10s lap with the rider sitting above both of them in the points and bidding for a fourth world title, Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq, going third quickest.
Jeremy Perez reminded all three of his pace and that he could well be a threat in fourth place, the UAE’s Rashed Al Tayer producing a very strong run in fifth posting a time of 1:53.56s, with Johan Johansson rounding out the top six.
In Freestyle the UAE’s Rashed Al Mulla continued his impressive run in just his second event of the year taking top spot with 87 points ahead of championship leader Nac Florjancic and Roberto Mariani
The first of Tuesday’s two Motos starts at 10.00hrs with the second at 15.00hrs.
SKI GP1 – top 6..
1. Q Bossche (bel) – 1:53.89s
2. K Reiterer (aut) – 1:54.26s
3. J Poret (fra) – 1:54.82s
4. S Schjetlein (nor) – 1:55.59s
5. G Szabor (hun) – 1:56.87s
6. A Keller (den) – 1:58.07s
SKI GP1 LADIES – top 6..
1. EN Ortendahl (swe) – 1:56.53s
2. E Poret (fra) – 1:59.79s
3. K Nilbe (est) – 2:01.54s
4. J Borgstrom (swe) – 2:01.76s
5. K Uzare (lat) – 2:02.80s
6. S Borgstrom (swe) – 2:0303s
RUNABOUT GP1 – top 6
1. J Bushell (gbr) – 1:48.45s
2. L Akerblom (swe) – 1:51.10s
3. Y Al Abdulrazzaq (kuw) – 1:52.20s
4. J Perez (fra) – 1:53.24s
5. R Al Tayer (uae) – 1:53.25s
6. J Johansson (swe) – 1:58.35ss
FREESTYLE – top 3..
1. R Al Mulla (uae) – 87pts
2. N Florjancic (slo) – 80pts
3. R Mariani (ita) – 72pts
For full classifications/results: http://aquabike.net/results
[All three Motos of the UIM-ABP Aquabike Grand Prix of Sharjah will be streamed live on aquabike.net]