At the Aquabike Grand Prix of Qatar, France’s Cyrille Lemoine and Portugal’s Tiago Sousa hold the points advantage and whip-hand after wins in heat 1 in Runabout and Ski GP1 on a bad afternoon on Doha Bay for the Championship leaders in both categories.
In Runabout the seemingly invincible Kuwaiti Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq was comfortably out front and 15 seconds ahead of Lemoine when his six-race winning streak came to a shuddering halt on lap eight.
Italy’s Mattia Fracasso produced his best form and result of the year to finish second ahead of Frenchman Jeremy Perez.
There was also bitter disappointment for Ski points’ leader and the usually reliable and consistent Alberto Monti as his title bid also hit trouble, limping across the finish line on his Kawasaki and stopping on lap 6 with an engine problem after running in third.
Slovenia’s Pija Sumer produced the performance of the afternoon taking maximum points in the Ladies category after another impressive performance mixing it alongside the men, moving up from fifth to take the chequered flag in third place.
Starting from pole Abdulrazzaq made his usual blistering start and led the frontline of five and 20-rider field in Runabout to hold a clear advantage at the end of lap 1, Lemoine holding off an aggressive first lap challenge from Kuwait’s Khalid Burbaye, who later retired, to put himself into second spot with Mattia Fracasso in fourth.
The Kuwaiti looked to be in complete control extending his lead lap-by-lap when a broken driveshaft curtailed his race on lap 8.
Lemoine surged into the lead and was chased by the resurgent Fracasso, but the Italian was unable to close the ten second gap and followed the Frenchman home to take the chequered flag in second place, the win moving Lemoine into second place in the overall standings, 15 points behind Abdulrazzaq
Jeremy Perez kept his title hopes alive moving up from eighth at the start to take his fifth top three finish of the year, with Kuwait’s Mohamad Al Baz finishing fourth ahead of top Qatari rider Mohamed Al Haidus, with Jordi Tomas Jimenez completing the top six.
Ten lined up in Ski with riders from five countries locking out the front the row and France’s Mickael Poret starting from pole. But his advantage was short-lived when Sousa stole past him on the run to the first turn. Monti looked solid in third with Croatia’s Slaven Ivancic marginally ahead of Sumer.
Sousa had opened a 16-second lead over Poret who was struggling with a bike lacking in power but was well clear of Monti when the Italian started to slow and headed for his first DNF of the season.
Grand Prix of Qatar - Vittorio Ubertone/ABP
Behind the leaders Ivancic and Sumer enjoyed an early close scrap, Sumer grabbing the advantage on lap two and going on to take her best overall finish of the year. Slovakia’s Josef Bohuslav grabbed his best finish with fourth behind Ivancic.
Sousa’s win moves him to the top of the standings on 91 points, nine ahead of Monti and puts him on course for a World and European title double.
In Freestyle Rok Florjancic remains unbeaten after another strong performance picking up 90 points out of a possible 100, his brother Nac missing out on his first win of the year by just five points. Serbia’s Aleksandar Petrovic finished third with Sultan Al Kuwari the best of the three Qatari riders. Heat 1 results:
1. C Lemoine (fra) 13 laps
2. M Fracasso (ita) + 9.66s
3. J Perez (fra) + 1m 16s
4. M Al Baz (kwt) + 1m 43s
5. M Alhaidus (qat) + 1m 44 Championship points:
1. Y Al Abdulrazzaq (kwt) 100 2. Lemoine (fra) 85 3. J Perez (fra) 84 4. F Medori (fra) 59 5. J Johansson (swe) 39 6. J T Jimenez 38.. Ski GP1
1. T Sousa (prt) 9 laps
2. M Poret (fra) + 1m 11s
3. S Ivancic (cro) + 1m36s
4. J Bohuslav (svk) + 1 lap
5. A Futo (hun) + 1 lap Championship points:
1. T Sousa (prt) 91 2. A Monti (ita) 80 3. N Armillas (esp) 79 4. M Poret (fra) 58 5. S Ivancic (cro) 50 6. J Bohuslav (svk) 41… Ski GP1 Ladies
1. P Sumer (svn) -
2. M Sorrentino (ita) - Championship points:
1. P Sumer (svn) 75 2. M Sorrentino (ita) 52 3. J Menard (fra) 45 4. Yue Nixin (chn) 36 5. Li Qian Qian (chn) 33 Freestyle:
1. R Florjancic (svn) 175 2. N Florjancic (svn) 133 3. A Petrovic (srb) 99 4. V Calderoni (ita) 68 5. A Kuramshin (rus) 23 6= R Mykhailov (ukr) 21 6= R Mariani (ita) 21 Aquabike website