Following up on his season-opening victory in June in France, Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente extended his lead in the 2022 Union Internationale Motonautique F1H2O World Championship today in San Nazzaro, Italy, with a commanding win in an incident-packed Grand Prix of Regione Emilia Romagna, the first of two races this weekend in Northern Italy.
Team Abu Dhabi driver Shaun Torrente and team manager Guido Cappellini celebrate after winning today’s F1 H2O Grand Prix race in Italy. Photos courtesy Vittorio Ubertone/F1H2O
Torrente produced a stellar performance throughout the race on the Po River to follow up his Grand Prix of France victory, besting second-place finisher and defending world champion, Jonas Andersson of Sweden by more than 10 seconds.
Making it a near perfect day for Team Abu Dhabi, Thani Al Qemzi took third place to retain second place in the championship standings, 13 points behind Torrente. Finn Alec Weckstrom, France’s Peter Morin and Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen completed the top six.
After earning pole position on Friday, Torrente, who is seeking his third driver championship as well as a fifth successive F1H2O team title, was left at the start as a succession of boats roared past him, but the 2018 and 2019 world champion made a dramatic recovery, powering his way past Sharjah Team’s Sami Selio and the rest into the lead on the first lap.
It seemed that the pattern for the race was being set, as the American driver negated attempts by Selio to close the gap, before a series of incidents brought two restarts and left a succession of Grand Prix casualties.
“Other than a terrible start because the motor didn’t fire good, the boat was incredible,” Torrente said. “Sami was frickin’ professional and a half. I mean, he had to leave me a lane because that’s the rule, and he left me one lane and I just stuffed it in there and came out next to him and then it was a drag race in the next corner. So big respect to him for doing that. Other than that, it was a great race—the boat is super fast.
“The guys are completely going through everything right now—they’re working into the night to get everything prepared for tomorrow so we can break in a new engine,” he continued. “I can’t say enough about this team—everyone on the crew is amazing.”
Shaun Torrente drove his Team Abu Dhabi DAC hull to a victory on the Po River on Saturday.
First, Portugal’s Duarte Benavente retired on the 14th of 45 laps with mechanical problems. Ten laps later Selio, who dropped out when leading in France, exited again after damaging the front of his boat. Norway’s Marit Stromoy, who was forced to change her engine overnight after qualifying problems, went out immediately after that when her boat overturned.
Torrente calmly retained his lead after the first yellow flag, while Al Qemzi, sensing his opportunity, climbed from fifth into second place before Italian Alberto Comparato flipped his boat to force another halt.
Untroubled by another restart, Torrente gradually stretched his lead while Al Qemzi, who initially lost two places, moved up to third after France’s former world champion, Philippe Chiappe, went out.
After his 10th career Grand Prix Victory, Torrente will look to add to his tally again in tomorrow afternoon’s Grand Prix of Italy. A three-phase qualifying session will take place in the morning to determine the starting order for the third round of championship, which finishes in Sharjah in December.
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