Dubai: Team Abu Dhabi’s American driver Shaun Torrente assumed control for a maiden crown when he won the Grand Prix of India — Round Five of the 2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship held on the Krishna River in Amaravati on Sunday.
Torrente’s outright win helped him replace teammate Thani Al Qamzi at the top of the drivers’ standings with the last two rounds — Abu Dhabi and Sharjah — remaining to decide the 2018 F1 powerboat champion.
Torrente was simply too good on the day as he finished an amazing start-to-finish race on the Krishna River while leaving the remaining 18 drivers chasing for lower honours of the podium.
Going into the fifth race with just one point separating him and his two teammates, Al Qamzi ended with no points against his name after he failed to finish the race with major engine issues after five laps. Team Abu Dhabi’s third driver Erik Stark went on to finish third and maintain his second place overall in the standings as lady driver Marit Strømøy — a one-time winner of the Sharjah Grand Prix — ended as the runner-up behind Torrente.
“This is what F1 racing is all about. I went out there convinced that we could get maximum points and serve the interests of our team. But today was like a dream come true as I maintained my position at the top to come home with maximum points and put myself in a strong position to win the crown this season,” Torrente told Gulf News from Amaravati.
“You cannot imagine my happiness at what I have achieved as this is a moment that I have been dreaming about since I began my career as a powerboat driver,” the Miami resident added.
“I am convinced that me and my Team Abu Dhabi can get even better during the last two rounds as we know the waters too well in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. This is certainly a huge moment for me and I will carry this huge amount of confidence going into the last two races of the season,” Torrente stressed.
The first race to be held in the country since 2004 did not disappoint in the excitement stakes and Chiappe’s teammate Peter Morin finished fourth overall with Italian veteran Francesco Cantando rounding off the top five. The result also enabled Team Abu Dhabi to extend its lead over the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team to a massive 53 points.