SHARJAH: Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente will carry a three-point advantage over Jonas Andersson into the final round of the 2022 UIM F1H2O World Championship on Sunday, after a dramatic end to the Grand Prix of Sharjah on Friday.
Torrente looked to be heading for a second-place finish behind defending champion Andersson before late electrical problems caused him to lose power, and four places, over the closing laps. It sets the stage for a tense climax to the season on Khalid Lagoon.
Team Sweden’s Andersson led start-to-finish from pole position and the victory might have given him the momentum heading into the decider, but two-time world champion Torrente will be looking to bounce back from the sixth-place disappointment and claim a third F1H2O crown.
Despite finishing seventh following his own mechanical difficulties during qualifying, Team Abu Dhabi veteran Thani Al-Qemzi still has a fighting chance to claim his first world title. He sits third in the standings, 10 points behind his teammate and seven behind Andersson.
The uncertainties of elite, world championship powerboat racing, and a history of unpredictable conclusions to the season in Sharjah, mean the title is still very much up for grabs and the Emirati certainly cannot be discounted.
Torrente, meanwhile, will need no reminding that in 2019 in Sharjah, he snatched the world title from Andersson’s grasp, squeezing into second place behind the Swede on the last lap to beat him on a championship countback.
With a fifth-successive world team title already secured, the two Team Abu Dhabi teammates will both go all out to grab pole position on Sunday, hoping for a crucial advantage they can take into the final round of the championship, the Grand Prix of the Middle East, three hours later.
Torrente’s electrical issues on Friday allowed Sharjah Team’s Sami Selio, Pole Bartek Marszalek, Finn Alec Weckstrom and Italian Alberto Comparato to each sneak ahead of the 2018 and 2019 world champion. Until that late drama, the American looked to be well in control of second spot and set to take what would have been a 13-point championship lead into Sunday’s finale.
It all adds up to another fascinating climactic power struggle over the spectacular 2,057-meter Sharjah circuit between the two drivers who have dominated the past three F1H2O championships, and an Emirati star racer who has been striving to win the world crown for 20 years.
Grand Prix of Sharjah result
1. Jonas Andersson
2. Sami Selio + 08.51
3. Bartek Marszalek + 23.90
4. Alec Weckstrom + 31.97
5. Alberto Comparato + 35.63
6. Shaun Torrente + 43.28
7. Thani Al-Qemzi + 45.43
8. Philippe Chiappe + 1Lap
2022 UIM F1H2O World Championship leaders
1. Shaun Torrente (USA) 69pts
2. Jonas Andersson (SWE) 66pts
3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) 59pts
4. Alec Weckstrom (FIN) 39pts
5. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NED) 34pts
6. Peter Morin (FRA) 21pts