TORRENTE WINS AS TEAM ABU DHABI SECURES HISTORIC SECOND SUCCESSIVE 1-2-3 RACE FINISH

2018 UIM F1 H2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Agile Grand Prix of Xiangyang, China  – September 21-23

  Emirati Thani Al-Qemzi storms to the top of Drivers’ Championship standings after Xiangyang race

 

XIANGYANG (CHINA): Sunday, September 23:  Team Abu Dhabi created another piece of powerboat racing history by securing a second successive 1-2-3 race finish at the Agile Grand Prix of Xiangyang on the Han River on Sunday morning.

Pole sitter Shaun Torrente claimed his second win of the season and was followed to the chequered flag by team-mates Thani Al-Qemzi and Erik Stark at the fourth round of the 2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship. The result means that 40-year-old Al-Qemzi now leads the Drivers’ Championship by a single point from Stark, with Torrente a further point behind.

UIM F1H2O World Championship – Agile Grand Prix – Xiangyang, China 21-23 september 2018
Photo:Simon Palfrader© Editorial use only

Running out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC), the three DAC drivers were the class of the field and, once Al-Qemzi had passed Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson on the opening lap, the three drivers ran a professional and processional race to the finish.

Andersson secured fourth place, three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team earned valuable points for fifth and Victory Team’s Ahmed Al-Hameli was sixth. Team Abu Dhabi moved further ahead of their rivals in the UIM Teams’ Championship, while Frenchman Peter Morin earned the fastest lap of the race – a tour of 56.57sec.

F1H2O Agile Grand Prix, Xiangyang, China 21st – 23rd September, 2018

A triumphant Torrente said: “I had Erik on my side at the start and then Thani next to Jonas. The idea was to protect each other at the start and then whoever wins, wins. This is another amazing result for the team. They have done an amazing job. All the hard work that everyone has put in is starting to pay off. It really is a very exciting time and we are in a fantastic position now for a thrilling finish to the championship.”

Etihad Airways is the official carrier for Team Abu Dhabi that is also supported by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and runs under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, advisor to the Head of State and chairman of the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club and under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, Vice-President and CEO of the ADIMSC. The racing team runs under the umbrella of the ADIMSC, board member and general manager Salem Al-Remeithi and team manager Guido Cappellini.

F1H2O Agile Grand Prix, Xiangyang, China 21st – 23rd September, 2018

Agile Grand Prix of Xiangyang

Torrente led the way from Stark, Andersson and Al-Qemzi at the start pontoon for 39 laps of the demanding seven-pin, 2.23km course. The grid was whittled down to 17 following the premature retirements of Francesco Cantando and Simone Shuft in the morning’s practice session.

Warm conditions welcomed teams to the 10th Chinese venue to ever host a Grand Prix. It was a clean start and everyone made it safely through the opening turn buoy. Al-Qemzi made a storming start and passed Andersson and Stark to snatch second place, but Torrente began to edge clear and was 3.74 seconds ahead after two laps. Chiappe and Al-Hameli held fifth and sixth positions.

Torrente began to close in on the back-markers by lap four, as he and Al-Qemzi continued to open up a gap on Stark and Andersson and a hard-chasing Chiappe. The American carded the fastest lap of the race of 57.71sec thus far and held a 3.89-second advantage over Al-Qemzi after six laps. Stark was 11.14 seconds adrift.

The top 10 held station through as many laps and Torrente extended his advantage to 6.16 seconds into lap 15, but Portugal’s Duarte Benavente and double World Champion Sami Selio were sidelined and Thailand’s Sutthipan Sookbuangbon struggled at the rear of the field on his race debut. Four-time World Champion Alex Carella had been running in 12th place and also withdrew his Victory Team boat.

Bartak Marszalak spun out of eighth place after a spin, but Torrente maintained an outright 2.9-second lead over Al-Qemzi after 22 laps. Grant Trask also withdrew soon afterwards with his own technical issues.

Torrente’s lead was down to 3.18 seconds with 12 laps to go, but the top six were running in procession and there were no late dramas for the American. He duly eased his pace slightly and passed the chequered flag 6.03 seconds in front of Al-Qemzi and stormed back into title contention, as Stark rounded off another historic 1-2-3 finish for Team Abu Dhabi and Al-Qemzi moved to the top of the points’ standings.

Practice

Poland’s Bartak Marszalak won a fraught morning’s practice session that saw a double disaster for the Blaze Performance Team. Francesco Cantando hit something on the Han River and damaged the rear right of his boat and Simone Shuft spectacularly flipped her boat over and was unhurt. Grant Trask was also towed back to the pontoon with technical issues.

 

Action in the UIM F1 H20 World Championship resumes in Amaravati in India on November 17-18.

 2018 Agile Grand Prix of Xiangyang – result:

  1. Shaun Torrente (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 39 laps
  2. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi @6.03sec
  3. Erik Stark (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                 @11.83sec
  4. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Amaravati                 @18.33sec
  5. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team @27.47sec
  6. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                 @28.07sec
  7. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team @36.57sec
  8. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                 @37.02sec
  9. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Amaravati                 @53.83sec
  10. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team L1
  11. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team                 L2
  12. Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team L2
  13. Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) Maverick F1 Team L11

Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team                                                    RET

Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                                           RET

Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                                 RET

Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team                                         RET

Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                                        DNS

Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team                                                DNS

 

2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – standings after round 4:

  1. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                               54pts
  2. Erik Stark (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                                         53pts
  3. Shaun Torrente (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi                               52pts
  4. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team    34pts
  5. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team             30pts
  6. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team                                   15pts
  7. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati  14pts
  8. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati                 13pts
  9. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team                       11pts
  10. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team                                              9pts
  11. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team                    7pts
  12. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team                                      5pts
  13. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team                            5pts
  14. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team                   4pts
  15. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team                            3pts
  16. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team                           3pts
News Reporter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.