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Victory look to ride out storm in season opener

Dubai-based team stay focused as strong winds force cancellation of official practice session of UIM F1H2O World Championships

Image Credit: Courtesy: Victory Team
Victory Team’s Shaun Torrente (left) andAhmad Al Hameli.
Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai-based Victory Team remained upbeat despite being denied their first official testing session on the opening day of the 16th Grand Prix of Portugal being held on the Arade River this week.

Inclement weather on Friday denied all 22 participating boats from getting a taste of conditions before Saturday’s BRM official qualifying and Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portugal — the opening round of the UIM F1H2O World Championships being held in Portimao.

The southern part of Portugal was lashed by high winds with gusts between 45 to 70 km/h making it impossible for the boats to venture out of the wet pit area.

The 34th season of the UIM F1 H2O World Championships has attracted a field of 19 drivers representing 11 nations. Boats were all set to go out on to the waters of the Arade River, but could not do so due to the windy weather coming in from the west of Europe.

Action will continue on Saturday with the first official practice session taking place at 10am [1pm UAE] along the 1,937-metre circuit followed by the BRM official qualifying later in the day at 1pm [4pm UAE]. There will be a second official practice session at 10.30am [1.30pm UAE] on Sunday, followed by the UIM F1H2O Grand Prix of Portugal from 1.30pm [4.30pm].

The nine team line-up is loaded with talent, boasting of three world champions, nine drivers who have taken Grand Prix victories and a further three who have finished on the podium at some point in their powerboating career.

“Nothing changes for us even though we didn’t get some vital practice time on the water. We don’t mind waiting till tomorrow when we will get to understand what we need to do and the adjustments we will need to make going into the opening race of the season,” Scott Gillman, Manager, Victory Team F1 told Gulf News from Portimao.

“There is talk at the moment that if the winds continue on Saturday then they may have the qualifying session and the race on Sunday itself,” he added.

The weather forecast for Saturday is favourable for racing with wind speeds dropping to 15km/h and temperatures at 21 degrees along with partly cloudy conditions. “The entire team is geared up for a fast and furious start to the season,” Gillman said.

“We have waited for so long for the start of the season. It is just a matter of waiting for an additional day and we can get our campaign going. The focus definitely will be to have a strong start and get some points on board before the second race in Evian [June 30-July 2],” he added.

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