Victory Team’s Ahmed Al Fahim drew first blood while winning the first race in the F4-S category at the Grand Prix of Portugal, the second round of the 2019 UIM F1H2O World Championship, on Saturday.

Racing on the Arade River, Al Fahim led from pole position to never look behind while finishing the 20-lap race 10.87 seconds clear of second-placed Max Stilz and a further 19.36 seconds away from China’s Bingchen Wu. Defending champion and home crowd favourite Pedro Fortuna had to settle for fourth place, while Team Abu Dhabi driver Mohammed Al Muhairbi finished the top-five positions.

Al Fahim, who made his debut with the Dubai-based team last season, has been in a dominant form starting with Friday’s practice sessions and the pole run.

Al Fahim continued his momentum on Saturday in the season’s opening race as he was quickly in the lead, while Al Muhairbi struggled to keep pace after starting in second place. Midway through the race, Al Fahim had established a healthy 8.40 secs lead from Stilz, while Bingchen continued the chase.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the water and it was an amazing feeling to start from pole and hold on to it, thanks to the efforts put in by the crew in keeping my boat set-up in prime condition,” Al Fahim said.

By the 13th lap, the Victory Team driver had managed to improve his lead by 10.24 secs from the chasing duo even as Al Muhairbi continued climbing from a distant tenth place. But the race belonged to Al Fahim as he ended nearly eleven seconds clear of the challengers.

“It’s been a fantastic first race and I hope we can carry on this same momentum into tomorrow’s (Sunday’s) practice session and Race 2. I am totally focused in achieving a good result for Victory Team,” he added.

Meanwhile, Victory Team’s former four-time world champion Alex Carella and Ahmed Al Hameli continued their struggles with their boats after failing to finish for Q2 of qualifying.

Sunday will see the F4-S boats head for one more practice session earlier in the afternoon before the second race starting from 2.40 pm (5.40 pm UAE). The day will conclude with the 18th Grand Prix of Portugal from 3.30 pm (6.30 pm UAE).

 

Source: Victory Team