Dubai: The Victory Team departed hoping for a “standard season” as the 2017 UIM F1H2O World Championship landed in China this weekend.
The two Victory Team drivers Shaun Torrente and Ahmad Al Hameli and their crew left last Monday for the Grand Prix of Harbin — the third round on the 2017 UIM F1H2O World Championship — to be held on the Hulan Estuary from August 11-13.
Unseasonal blustery conditions in Europe had denied teams an ideal opening two rounds in Portugal’s Algarve region and Evian in France in April and June respectively. With minimal racing possible in both rounds it is Mad Croc Baba Racing’s Sami Selio at the top of the drivers’ standings with 30 points followed by Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella in second (29 points) followed by three-time defending world champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team (20 points).
With Portuguese Duarte Benavente in fourth (14), the Victory Team duo of Torrente and Al Hameli are chasing down the leaders in fifth and sixth with 12 and nine points respectively.
However, the American — who has time again come within a world championship crown in the past — was looking hopefully along with other teams for a standard weekend of racing. “We are all pretty excited for the race in Harbin, and all that we are hoping for is a normal weekend after the first two rounds were affected by weather in Europe. I hope that we can have our standard weekend — that would be part of the comfort for all the drivers and teams,” Torrente told Gulf News before leaving for China.
“A normal weekend would be nice to get our schedules and routine in order as racing is what we do best. At least, that’s how it is for me,” he added.
With a substantial amount of time before them, Victory Team has managed to put on some more hours in testing, and are now confidently looking ahead. “At Victory Team we have got a good package for the weekend. And I believe that with this sort of package we are best suited to tackle the Harbin course. There are really long straights and we’ve got a good engine selection for that. And for once I am actually feeling really darn good about all this,” Torrente disclosed.
“We’ve had our ups and downs in the first two rounds in Europe. But I believe we’ve got to hit the ground running really quick rightaway. We’ve got a lot of work to do in the next two rounds in China. And the good thing is that the guys [crew] are really good. They are real professionals and that makes all the difference for us. They make sure we are ready to go through it all,” Torrente added.
The racing weekend will see free practice from 10am (UAE time) on Friday followed by a second practice session at 6.30am followed by the BRM Official Qualifying at 11am. On Sunday, there will a final practice session at 5.45am followed by the Grand Prix of Harbin at 10am.