Dubai: American driver Shaun Torrente made a perfect start to the defence of his world title leading an exciting one-two finish for Team Abu Dhabi at the Grand Prix of Portugal — the second round of the 2019 UIM F1H2O World Championship — in Portimao, Portugal, on Sunday.
Pushed to the very end by teammate Thani Al Qamzi, Torrente eventually managed to finish 1.38 seconds clear for his second straight win in Portimao. Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson ran a patient race over the 48 laps to come in third, while CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team’s young driver Peter Morin nudged his way past the Emirates Racing Team duo of Marit Stromoy and Bartek Marszalek. The competition was so close and exciting that the gap between the first five finishers was a mere 5.88 seconds.
This was the eighth career win in 48 starts for the Miami resident, who went on to be crowned the world champion for the first time after winning three races in 2018. Torrente had won the Grand Prix of Portugal exactly 12 months back.
Two drivers — Ahmad Al Hameli of Victory Team and young rookie Alberto Comparato — deserve a special mention as they gained at least 10 spots to finish in seventh and eighth, respectively.
The evening, though, belonged to the terrific Torrente after the Miami resident had topped qualifying charts a day earlier. The American always looked to be in menacing form as he took the lead from the start and went on to dominate and put behind the disappointment of having the opening round in Saudi Arabia cancelled due to bizarre weather conditions at the end of March.
“This has been an amazing effort from each and everyone from Team Abu Dhabi. Going into the weekend I had the perfect set-up, and the excitement was even more fulfilling with Thani pushing me all the way till the end. This is what powerboat racing is all about,” Torrente said from Portimao.
“I am absolutely thrilled to start off with a clear win and I think we can expect some more of these battles as the season goes on. I will be there to ensure that we make this a truly memorable season,” the American driver added.
The other set-up from the UAE, the Victory Team ended on a modest note with Al Hameli’s four points after climbing in from 17th to finish in seventh. “It will be back to the drawing board for us after this weekend. I am glad that have the time to do some more testing on the boats and get in shape before the next race in France,” Al Hameli related.
The boats and drivers will now enjoy a long summer break before heading to the Grand Prix of France in Evian from July 5-7.
1. Shaun Torrente (Team Abu Dhabi)
2. Thani Al Qamzi (Team Abu Dhabi)
3. Jonas Andersson (Team Amaravati)
4. Peter Morin (CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team)
5. Marit Stromoy (Emirates Racing Team)
6. Bartek Marszalek (Emirates Racing Team)
7. Ahmad Al Hameli (Victory Team)
8. Alberto Comparato (F1 Atlantic Team)
9. Erik Stark (Maverick F1 Team)
10. Sami Selio (Sharjah Team)