Sharjah: Young Italian racer Alberto Comparato and Swede Jonas Andersson, the current world champion, took turns to dominate Friday’s Free Practice setting the fastest times in the two races held on the new track on Khalid Lagoon in the finale of the 22nd UIM F1H2O World Championship.
Comparato (Boat 97) quickly asserted his dominance in the Extra free practice, crossing the finish line in 46.774 seconds, followed by American Shaun Torrente, captain of Team Abu Dhabi (Boat 1), 0.378 seconds behind as anticipation reaches its peak for the second day of Grand Prix of Sharjah, held under the patronage of Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairman of the Sharjah Executive Council. Andersson, captain of Team Sweden (Boat 14), settled for third place, registering 47.385 seconds.
Narrowing the gap
Andersson managed to make up in the official free practice, recording the fastest time with 46.475 seconds, leaving the second position with a narrow gap of no more than 0.039 seconds to the previous season’s world champion, American Shaun Torrente. Eric Stark, captain of Team Victory (Boat 4), compensated for missing the first free practice by recording the third-fastest time in the official session, clocking in at 46.552 seconds.
Tomorrow’s races, comprising the BRM Qualifications F1H2O and the sprint races will decide the current season’s BRM Pole Position Trophy, awarded to the driver securing pole position the most in the season.
Andersson, with 62 points, aims to secure all the titles in the World Championship after already clinching the F1H2O Drivers World Championship a race in advance.
Pole Position trophy
Team Abu Dhabi’s Torrente seeks to defend his 2022 Pole Position trophy and is in second place with 44 points.
Additionally, Team Sharjah drivers Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen (Boat 12) and Finn Sami Selio (Boat 11) are banking on the new modifications to secure the best possible pole positions in the main race. This effort aims to bring them closer to securing the F1H2O Teams World Championship.
Team Sharjah, who are in the second spot in the Teams World Championship with 54 points, will have to be at their best to overturn leaders Team Sweden, who hold a 11-point lead. Andersson and Kalle Viippo in line to finish the 2023 season by securing all three titles.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al Qamzi said: “This event serves as a golden opportunity for team members to showcase their exceptional abilities and overcome challenges. The competition is fierce and demand a full focus and determination from team members to secure victory.”