The Qatar Team’s Shaun Torrente and Alex Carella claimed pole position and third place for Saturday’s Grand Prix of Middle East—round three of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship—after a thrilling third qualifying session in Qatar’s Doha Bay on Friday afternoon.
Florida native Shaun Torrente drove his Qatar Team boat to the fastest lap to earn pole position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Middle East.
Carella laid down the gauntlet from third place in the Q3 shootout with a second lap of 49.56 seconds, despite later complaining of a minor engine issue. That was surpassed within minutes by a lap of 49.16 seconds set by Philippe Chiappe, the Frenchman bidding to claim his first ever F1 pole position. But the Qatar Team’s Torrente was not to be denied and, in fading light on Doha Bay, Torrente carded a stunning time of 48.65 seconds on his first run to claim pole position.
“That was some finish—it was great to watch and very exciting,” said Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation. “Alex maybe had a little issue with his boat, but then Philippe (Chiappe) posted that time of 49.16 and it looked as though that was enough. Then up stepped Shaun and he goes under 49 seconds. Incredible. It was a great spectacle and that sets the scene nicely for the race tomorrow.”
As the sun set over Doha, Chiappe slotted into third with a time of 50.37 seconds and stunned Carella with an awesome second lap of 49.16 seconds. This left Torrente to try and deprive Chiappe of pole position, and the American produced a stunning opening tour of 48.65 seconds to smash the opposition and claim the pole.