RIYADH: Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qemzi and Shaun Torrente once again have a double title triumph in their sights as they prepare to start the 2022 UIM F1H2O World Championship campaign in France.
The pair have arrived in the ancient town of Macon Val de Saone in confident mood as they pursue a fifth successive world team title and look to reclaim the drivers’ crown which agonizingly eluded them in a dramatic climax to the 2021 season.
Al-Qemzi fell just one point short in his bid for a first individual driver’s title while a blown engine in qualifying ended Torrente’s hopes of a third success in a row as Swede Jonas Andersson emerged victorious.
All that is now history, and the Team Abu Dhabi duo are determined to make a flying start to the new season in the Grand Prix of France, with the boats taking to the Saone River circuit for an initial free practice session on Saturday afternoon ahead of Sunday’s big race.
After several days of testing in San Nazzaro, Italy last week under the guidance of team manager and 10-time F1H2O champion, Guido Cappellini, Al-Qemzi and Torrente are primed for action in the flagship series of international single-seater inshore circuit powerboat racing.
Al-Qemzi said: “We trained well and prepared ourselves well in Italy. We have good boats, and everything that happened last year is forgotten. This is a new season, and I believe I can do something this time. I want to bring back the driver’s title to Abu Dhabi.”
With the International Powerboat Federation (UIM) celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club are looking to mark the occasion with a double success.
It is now 22 years since Al-Qemzi first launched his quest for a world title, and few drivers have worked harder or gone closer without claiming the ultimate prize.
Partnering Torrente as he emerged as champion in 2019 and 2020 has only served to underline his self-belief, and the Emirati draws strength from the bond he has forged with the American in Team Abu Dhabi colors.
“Shaun and I are more like brothers than team-mates. We work very well together. He is always ready to offer advice and support. We have a very good relationship, and we believe in each other,” Al-Qemzi added.
As much as Torrente would relish a third world crown for himself, no one would be more delighted should Al-Qemzi come through to claim his first this season.
Torrente said: “The mood of the team right now is one of excitement. We’re excited to get going again. We’re excited to hopefully have a proper championship with multiple races, and excited obviously to be going for our fifth team title in a row.
“And on top of all that, we’re excited to have the opportunity to bring back the driver’s championship again, with either myself or Thani,” he added.