F1 Stark, Al-Qemzi and Torrente seal historic 1-2-3 finish for Team Abu Dhabi in France
2018 UIM F1 H2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
22nd Grand Prix of France, Évian-les-Bains – June 29-July 1
STARK, AL-QEMZI AND TORRENTE SEAL HISTORIC 1-2-3 FINISH FOR
TEAM ABU DHABI AT GRAND PRIX OF FRANCE
· Defending champion Alex Carella crashes out on Lac Leman; fourth place for Erik Edin
· Team Abu Dhabi trio now hold 1-2-3 positions in UIM F1 H2O World Championship
ÉVIAN-LES-BAINS (FRANCE): Sunday, July 1: Team Abu Dhabi’s racing trio of Erik Stark, Thani Al-Qemzi and Shaun Torrente clinched an historic 1-2-3 finish at the 22nd Grand Prix of France at Évian-les-Baines on Sunday afternoon.
The sensational result for the team running out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) on the six-pin, 2.08km course on Lac Leman enabled Stark to storm to the top of the points’ standings and move two clear of his experienced team-mate Thani Al-Qemzi.
The Emirati pushed the team newcomer hard, as both drivers survived two yellow flag stoppages in a thrilling race where defending World Champion Alex Carella of the Victory Team was hospitalised with a leg injury after a 24th lap crash and Torrente overcame missing out on Q3 qualifying on Saturday to climb from seventh to the final place on the podium.
Sweden’s Erik Edin finished fourth, Frenchman Peter Morin was fifth and Jonas Andersson passed the chequered flag in sixth position after starting at the rear of the field following an engine change. Three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team finished three laps behind and slipped to fourth in the championship standings, as Team Abu Dhabi also took control of the Teams’ Championship.
The Team Abu Dhabi trio of Stark, Al-Qemzi and Torrente had lined up in pole, third and seventh positions for the 42-lap race, with Chiappe in second position and Francesco Cantando impressing in fourth place. Jonas Andersson was forced to start from the rear of the grid after engine issues on Sunday morning and double World Champion Sami Selio suffered fuel tank problems and changed to a bladder tank before the race after damaging his engine during BRM Qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
Stark came under pressure from Al-Qemzi and then began to pull into a lead, as Torrente climbed to fifth position. Sami Selio suffered ongoing engine issues and an accident involving Filip Roms brought out the first yellow flag on lap seven. Racing resumed on lap 12 and Stark held his advantage under Carella crashed out heavily on lap 24 and the race was yellow-flagged again. The Italian sustained a broken right tibia and was transferred to hospital for treatment.
The race resumed on lap 31 and Stark kept his cool to stay ahead of his team-mate as the Team Abu Dhabi trio held on to snatch a memorable 1-2-3, but there was disappointment for Francesco Cantando who stopped with mechanical issues on the last lap.
Torrente said: “This is a fantastic result for the team. It’s history with a 1-2-3 and we are 1-2-3 in the championship. I was really happy with my drive. Coming from behind, it was one of my better drives. I took my chances when I needed to without being overly aggressive. The boats were prepared so well. We had exactly the same set-ups on all three boats.”
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.
Teams were permitted one last hour of free practice on the Lac Leman course on Sunday morning and all 19 boats took to the water.
Erik Edin laid down the early gauntlet with a lap of 50.23sec and that was quickly surpassed by Chiappe’s run of 50.20sec in favourable conditions. Al-Qemzi then went even faster and shaved 0.17 seconds off the Frenchman’s session-topping time, as teams used the hour to find the best set-up for the racecourse.
That early time by Al-Qemzi was actually good enough to win the session, although Ahmed Al-Hameli did post a late lap of 50.08sec to slot into second position ahead of Chiappe, Edin and a resurgent Alex Carella.
Action in the UIM F1 H2O World Championship resumes in Xiangyang, China, on September 22-23.
2018 Grand Prix of France – result:
1. Erik Stark (SWE) Team Abu Dhabi 42 laps
2. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi @2.38sec
3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi @4.91sec
4. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden @7.75sec
5. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team @10.11sec
6. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden @15.55sec
7. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team @18.61sec
8. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team @20.13sec
9. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team @24.30sec
10. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team @26.08sec
11. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team @28.00sec
12. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team @34.94sec
13. Mette Bjerknaes (NOR) Maverick F1 Team L1
Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team RET
Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team L3
Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team RET
Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team RET
Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team RET
Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team DNS
2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – standings after round 3:
1. Erik Stark (SWE) Maverick F1 Team/Team Abu Dhabi 41pts
2. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 39pts
3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi 32pts
4. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 27pts
5. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 26pts
6. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden 11pts
7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 10pts
8. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 9pts
9. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 8pts
10. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 7pts
11. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts
11. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden 5pts
13. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts
14. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team 3pts
14. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 3pts
14. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team 3pts
For further media information and information about Team Abu Dhabi:
Please contact: Khalid Al Saadi, Media Incharge, Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, P.O. Box 45656, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Mobile Telephone: + 971 50 768 6761, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.