Team Sweden driver Jonas Andersson held his nerve and led from start to finish to win today’s incident-filled Union Internationale Motonautique F1 H2O Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, which saw three boat wrecks and three yellow flags raised within 14 dramatic laps.
Jonas Andersson of Team Sweden earned his first F1 H2O victory in seven seasons at the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi. Photos courtesy F1 H2O
“Incredible just incredible,” Andersson said in the F1 H2O release after taking his first victory since 2009. “The restarts were very difficult to manage and after 10 laps I had problems with the engine, which was dying in the corners, and I thought now they must come at me. But for once I am lucky—to be back winning again is great.”
The second position went to current championship points leader Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC China Team. Chiappe moved to within one point of clinching a third consecutive world title when the championship heads north to Sharjah next week (Dec. 14-16) for the final round of the year.
“Today was important to finish, get points and not to take any risks,” Chiappe said in the release. “It was not easy today with the conditions, the wind especially and all the crashes and restarts. But I think it is good for the championship to be decided at the last race.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella took a highly emotional third place on a difficult day for the Italian driver whose father passed away yesterday. The multi-time world champion’s last-ditch move on Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente as the duo crossed the finishing line was quite remarkable.
“It was a crazy race on a very difficult day in my life,” Carella said in the release. “I wanted the podium for my dad for sure and I got it on the last meter of the race. I am really happy, for me and for my family. It is a very special moment.”
Torrente’s fourth place means that of the four drivers still with a shot to challenge for the title before today’s race, he is now the last-man standing who can take it away from Chiappe. Of course, the American driver will need a lot of help for that to happen.
Philippe Chiappe, Jonas Andersson and Alex Carella enjoy their time on the podium following Friday’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.
Andersson took full advantage of starting from pole position and moved into a comfortable lead over Chiappe, with Erik Stark ahead of Torrente, Ahmed Al Hameli and Alex Carella, when the first yellow flag was raised on the ninth lap after Chiappe’s CTIC F1 Shenzhen China teammate Xiong Ziwei barrel-rolled out of the race.
The boats were held for four laps before the green flag was shown, but a second yellow followed almost immediately with another dramatic crash and the exit of Emirates Racing’s Al Hameli, who was running in fifth place.
The third incident of the afternoon took place within two laps of the third start with Team Sweden’s Jesper Forss flipping spectacularly on the start-finish straight.
From the final restart on lap 22 the remainder of the 45-lap race was incident-free as Andersson controlled the proceedings from the front with Chiappe maintaining second ahead of Torrente until Carella snatched third at the finish line.
Behind the lead quartet, Stark held off a persistent challenge from Mad Croc BABA Racing’s Sami Selio, who from 18th at the start was now up to sixth—his efforts rewarded with a successful pass on lap 40, with Stark then retiring.
Team EMIC’s Marit Stromoy enjoyed her best result of the year, moving up from eighth place at the start to finish sixth, with Selio’s teammate Filip Roms seventh. Portugal’s Duarte Benavente maintained his 100 percent points scoring run this year to take eighth place, his teammate Chirstophe Larigot rounding out the top 10 behind Blaze Performance’s Bartek Marszalek.
After today’s compelling action, the world championship will be decided at the final race of the season in Sharjah. It is a two-way duel between odds-on favorite Philippe Chiappe who must score one point and Shaun Torrente who has to win.
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