Team Abu Dhabi’s racing trio of Thani Al-Qemzi, Erik Stark and Shaun Torrente are heading for a gripping showdown on China’s Han River at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Xiangyang, which takes place Sept. 21-23 and serves as the fourth round of the 2018 Union International Motonautique F1 H2O World Championship.
Led by driver Erick Stark (35) and followed closely by Thani Al-Qemzi (5) , the top three positions in the F1 H2O points standings are Team Abu Dhabi drivers (Shaun Torrente, below, is third). All photos courtesy Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club
The teammates operating out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club clinched the historic 1-2-3 finish at the 22nd Grand Prix of France on Lac Leman in Évian-les-Baines at the end of June (right, click to enlarge) and that has catapulted them to the top three positions in the championship standings as the series heads to China and India before concluding with two races in the UAE in December.
According a press release, a recent test session in Italy has strengthened all of the team members’ resolve and mult-time world champion Giudo Cappellini, Team Abu Dhabi’s racing manager, is confident that they have found the most effective setup for the conditions the drivers are likely to face on Xiangyang’s Han River.
Stark will line up on the seven-pin, 2.23-kilometer race course with a two-point lead over Al-Qemzi, while Torrente holds third position, just seven points behind. Team Abu Dhabi has a comfortable 26-point lead in the UIM teams’ championship and Stark leads the UIM F1 H2O Pole Position series by three points. Three-time world champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team is in fourth place, five points behind Torrente, and his teammate Peter Morin is a close fifth.
Shaun Torrente is hoping that he—or someone from his team—finishes first in China later this week.
“Overall, the team is feeling good and we are all very positive,” Torrente said in the release. “Thani, Erik and I were testing in Italy recently along with the F2 team. It was fun. We have new propellers that we hope will suit the racecourse in China. The engine development has been continuing, so all is looking good. We hope the fight stays inside the team. All of us want to win but, as long as one of us wins, that’s all that matters. We must be strong and stay with the spirit we have now. We are really enjoying it.”
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