Team Abu Dhabi’s latest move worked out perfectly as the newest driver to its stable, Sweden’s Erik Stark, won today’s Union Internationale Motornautique F1 H2O World Championship race—the 22nd Grand Prix of France at Évian-les-Baines—leading a perfect 1-2-3 finish for the team running out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.
In its first race with Team Abu Dhabi, Erik Stark won the F1 H2O World Championship Grand Prix of France on Lac Luman on Sunday. Photos courtesy Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club
Stark, Thani Al-Qemzi and Shaun Torrente clinched the team’s historic 1-2-3 finish at the conclusion of the 42-lap race on the six-pin, 2.08-km course on Lac Leman that featured two yellow flag stoppages. With the victory, Stark jumped to the top of the driver points standings with 41 points, two ahead of his experienced Emirati teammate, Al-Qemzi. Torrente, the team’s American driver who worked his way onto the podium after qualifying seventh, is nine points behind with 32.
“This is a fantastic result for the team—it’s history with a 1-2-3 and we are 1-2-3 in the championship,” said Torrente, the Florida native who is also racing for Team Abu Dhabi in the upcoming XCAT World Series race in Stresa, Italy (July 6-8). “I was happy with my drive. Coming from behind, it was one of my better drives. I took my chances when I needed to without being overly aggressive. The boats were prepared so well. We had exactly the same setups on all three boats.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images of Team Abu Dhabi’s historic 1-2-3 finish in France courtesy of ADIMSC.
Al-Qemzi pushed his new teammate hard as both drivers survived a thrilling race where defending world champion Alex Carella of the Victory Team was hospitalized after breaking his right tibia in a crash. Sweden’s Erik Edin finished fourth, Frenchman Peter Morin was fifth and Jonas Andersson took sixth position after starting at the rear of the field following an engine change. Three-time world champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team finished three laps behind and slipped to fourth in the championship standings, as Team Abu Dhabi also took control of the team points championship.
The Team Abu Dhabi trio lined up in pole, third and seventh positions for the race with Chiappe in second position and Francesco Cantando impressing in fourth place. Andersson was forced to start from the rear of the grid after engine issues on Sunday morning and two-time world champion Sami Selio suffered fuel tank problems and changed to a bladder tank before the race after damaging his engine during qualifying on Saturday.
Stark came under pressure from Al-Qemzi and then began to pull into a lead, as Torrente climbed to fifth position. Selio suffered ongoing engine issues and an accident involving Filip Roms brought out the first yellow flag on lap seven. Racing resumed on lap 12 and Stark held his advantage until Carella’s crash on lap 24. Following a seven-lap yellow-flag race, Stark kept his cool and snatch victory in memorable 1-2-3 finish.
The F1 H2O World Championship competition resumes with fourth and fifth round races in China in September.
Sweden’s Stark Joins Team Abu Dhabi For F1 H2O Season
Stark Wins F1 H2O Grand Prix Of London, Torrente Disqualified
Team Abu Dhabi’s Torrente, Al-Qemzi Finish 1, 2 In F1 H2O Opener In Portugal
Team Nollet Wins 24 Hours Of Rouen, Team Abu Dhabi Battles Back To Second
Torrente To Race XCAT For Team Abu Dhabi
Carella Cruises To Fourth F1 H2O World Championship