Italy’s Alex Carella produced a faultless performance and celebrated his first race with Maverick F1 Racing by winning the Union Internationale Motonautique F1 H2O World Championship Censtar Grand Prix of Xiamen in China on Saturday.
Alex Carella of Italy earned his first F1 H2O victory since 2017 in his first race with the Maverick F1 Racing team. Photo courtesy F1 H2O
The four-time world champion’s first victory since 2017 was an undeniable one from winning the pole position to stamping his authority right from the start all the way to the checkered flag to win the 32-lap race by 34 seconds.
“Getting pole was already enough for me but to win today means absolutely everything,” Carella said after earning his 16th career victory. “It was a hard race and Morin pushed me all the way. I knew that he had jumped the start and I could have let him pass but I wanted this win more than any other time. This is for everyone who has supported me, it’s unbelievable and one of the best days of my life.”
Peter Morin’s jumped start and subsequent post-race one-lap penalty, which dropped the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China driver to fifth, meant the battle for second and third was between Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson and Emirates Racing’s Marit Stromoy which developed into a titanic struggle with Andersson holding her off and hanging on to take second place to move into the lead in the title race.
“It was a really tough race—the conditions were very rough and I had Marit breathing down my neck for the whole race,” Andersson said. “To be leading the championship is such a great achievement for this small team. Tonight we will make some adjustments and get ready for tomorrow.”
Stromoy’s relentless pursuit paid dividends as she made the podium for the first time this season to move up into third place in the world championship standings.
“I tried everything but I just could not get past him (Jonas),” Stromoy said. “But to be on the podium is good and to be third overall at the moment is higher than I have ever been before.”
Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente is hoping for his ninth Grand Prix win on Sunday in China to get back on top of the points standings. Photo courtesy Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.
It was a tough afternoon for defending champion Shaun Torrente of Florida, as the championship leader going into the race struggled in qualifying and started from ninth. The defending world champion Team Abu Dhabi driver worked his way up as his teammate Thani Al Qemzi dropped out on lap 12 and CTIC F1 Shenzhen China’s Philippe Chiappe broke out on lap 23 and ended up in fourth place to keep his back-to-back titles attempt on course. Torrente now sits in second place, three points behind Andersson.
American driver Greg Foster, who produced another strong showing to get his best finish of the year in sixth, was involved in a great battle with teammate Francesco Cantando in the middle of the race before he retired in front of Foster on lap 18.
Alberto Comparato produced his best result of the season, taking seventh ahead of Erik Edin, with Bartek Marszalek and Duarte Benavente rounding out the top 10.
The teams and drivers have to regroup before they go again on Sunday with the F1 H2O Censtar Grand Prix of China set for 4 p.m. local time.
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