Shaun Torrente and Thani Al Qamzi Image Credit: Courtesy: Team Abu Dhabi

Dubai: Team Abu Dhabi’s American pilot Shaun Torrente is confident the 2018 UIM Formula One Powerboat Championships will return to the capital.

Torrente, who is taking a short break in Miami, Florida, is within striking distance of early leader and latest teammate Erik Stark in the drivers’ championship standings. After two outright wins from three races, Stark is at the top of the pile with 41 points followed by the teammates Thani Al Qamzi and Torrente with 39 and 32 points respectively.

Former four-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe is in fourth with 27 points, while fellow CTIC driver Peter Morin is fifth with 26, leaving the Victory Team duo of Ahmad Al Hameli (10) and Carella (9) in seventh and eighth positions.

In Round Three held in Evian, France, Stark — who switched over to Team Abu Dhabi mid-season — powered his way to his second successive win to complete a clean sweep for his new team. The three boats from the capital have been in a league of their own as Team Abu Dhabi leads the teams’ standings with 79 points, followed by CTIC F1 Shenzhen China (53) and Maverick F1 Racing (24).

“The big, big goal at the moment is to bring the world championships back to Abu Dhabi. And honestly, it doesn’t matter who does it, be it Thani [Al Qamzi], Erik [Stark] or I,” Torrente told Gulf News.

“From what I see at this moment, my job is to get the job done. Of course, I am not discounting the usual bit of problems that powerboat racing could normally have. But despite this I do know that we have the capacity as a team to rise above everything and win the championship,” he added.

After bagging the Rookie of the Year in the US Championship in 2006, Torrente switched over to Formula One racing the following year. His best so far in the eleven years Torrente has spent in this class is two runner-up positions (2013 and 2016) and a couple of back-to-back third places (2014 and 2015).

“We are less than halfway through the season and we are in a great position in the teams and drivers’ standings. Our number one goal is to keep all the Team Abu Dhabi boats upfront and from there we can battle it out and figure out who will be the world champion at the end of the season,” Torrente, who turned 40 last week, said.

“At the moment, it is not really about getting past Erik, but it is more about doing my job and making sure that I get the most out of my set-up. One thing is certain, things are going to be really, really close between teams this year,” he added.