Abu Dhabi: Team Abu Dhabi, on top of the powerboat racing world after a superb victory in the 24 Hours of Rouen, quickly set their sights on more championship titles.
Reigning Formula 1 individual champion Shaun Torrente combined with Emiratis Rashed Al Qamzi and Rashid Al Tayer and Italian Tullio Abbate to take Team Abu Dhabi 35 to an overwhelming win in the spectacular endurance race in Northern France.
Adding to the celebrations at Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, the all-Emirati line-up of Faleh Al Mansouri, Rashed Al Rumaithi, Majid Al Mansouri and Mohammad Al Muhairbi, contesting the event mainly to gain experience, took Team Abu Dhabi 36 to a superb third place.
A jubilant Torrente, who partnered Thani Al Qamzi to the team title in last year’s UIM F1H2O World Championship, said: “We have the best team in the world, the best managers in the world and the best country in the world, so we win.
“I just want to thank my fellow drivers and the entire team and management for doing an amazing job. Both boats did really well and it’s another championship for Abu Dhabi.
“Now I’m looking to the Formula One in Portugal in two weeks’ time. We’ll be pushing hard as always and aiming to start the season with a win.”
With UIM World Endurance Championship now to be decided in Augustow, Poland, in July, Majid Al Mansouri said: “We’re very happy that the team took first and third places here. It was a very good all round performance. Taking these points into the next round gives us a great chance to win the championship.”
It was a masterful tactical performance, which carried Team Abu Dhabi 35 to their victory in Rouen watched by tens of thousands of spectators lining the banks of the River Sein.
They produced a stirring fightback towards the end of the initial 15-hour race session on Wednesday after a refuelling issue followed by an overheating problem had taken away their lead.
They eventually surged clear to complete a remarkable 836 laps of the 3.6km river course, 65 more than the French runners up B.R.T. with Alexandre Bourgeot, Jean‐Baptiste Goluley, Thierry Petiot and Dominick Thomas.
Next up for Team Abu Dhabi is the second round of this year’s UIM F1H2O World Championship in Portimao, Portugal on 17-19 May where Torrente and Thani Al Qamzi will be looking for a season opening win after round one in Saudi Arabia was cancelled out by storms.