Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson held off a sustained challenge from Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente—the defending world champion—to take a well-deserved sixth career victory at the Union Internationale Motonautique F1 H2O World Championship Grand Prix of France in Evian and move into second place in the world championship standings after two rounds.
Jonas Andersson won his first F1 H2O race since 2016 in Evian, France, on Sunday. Photo courtesy F1 H2O
“It is great to win again,” Andersson said on Sunday after earning his first win in three years. “I selected a prop that would give me a chance to beat Philippe (Chiappe) to the first corner but I didn’t do it and he just went away and was so fast. But then he broke and from that point I just tried to control the race. I knew Shaun was there but I didn’t think he would take any risks in terms of the championship. But if he had tried to pass, I had more speed so I think I would have covered it off.”
Third place went to Torrente’s Abu Dhabi teammate Thani Al Qemzi, but once again there was more agony and heartbreak for CTIC F1 Shenzhen driver Philippe Chiappe whose race came to a premature end for the fourth time in five outings on Lac Leman, retiring from a comfortable lead on lap 15 of 40.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente finished second in France to maintain his lead in the drivers’ standings. Photo courtesy ADIMSC
The battle for the win and podium places hinged on a dramatic turn of events on lap 15 when pole-sitter and race leader Chiappe suddenly slowed and pulled off the circuit handing the lead to Andersson, with Al Qemzi closing down and passing his teammate just before the yellow flag was raised when Maverick F1 Racing’s Cédric Deguisne barrel-rolled out of the race. But the order for the restart reverted to the positions of the lap before with Al Qemzi losing out.
From the restart Andersson controlled the pace out front and held off Torrente—his lead fluctuating between two and four seconds—to cross the finish line first by 1.97 seconds. After starting in fourth, Torrente produced a determined bid to claim his ninth Grand Prix while his teammate also climbed two places from the start to take the third podium place.
“I pushed hard to try and force Jonas into a mistake, while making sure I didn’t make any mistakes myself to stay ahead in the championship,” Torrente said after the race.
Torrente Takes Wire-To-Wire Victory In F1 H2O Grand Prix Of Portugal
There Goes My Hero
Torrente And Team Abu Dhabi Win 56th Running Of 24 Hours Of Rouen
Strong Wind And Rough Seas Force Cancellation Of F1 H2O Grand Prix Of Saudi Arabia
Inside SOTW Mag: Torrente’s Take: Dream Season—Now What?
Dream Season: American Torrente Earns 2018 F1 H2O World Championship For Team Abu Dhabi
Torrente and Al-Mansoori Claim XCAT World Championship For Team Abu Dhabi