Dubai: Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente has promised that only a couple of outright wins over the weekend will put him in a perfect position to successfully defend his world crown in the home finale of the 2019 UIM F1H2O World Powerboat Championship in Sharjah in December.
The resident from Miami — who claimed his first-ever world crown after switching over to Team Abu Dhabi last season — is at the top of the overall drivers’ standings with 35 points following his win in the Portuguese Algarve and a second spot in Evian, France.
But, keeping pace with the American with 32 points is Swede Jonas Andersson from Team Amaravati with a third and first places in the two races held so far following the cancellation of the season-opener in Dammam, Saudi Arabia at the end of March.
Torrente’s teammate Thani Al Qamzi is third overall with 27 points following a second in Algarve and a third in Evian, while Peter Morin and Marit Stromoy have an outside chance after being tied with 16 points apiece in fourth and fifth places respectively. “Honestly, I will be worrying more about what I need to do rather than pay attention to what the other drivers will be doing this weekend,” Torrente told Gulf News before leaving for China’s Fujian province for the Grand Prix of Xiamen on Saturday.
“As a team we have put in a lot of hard work to be where we want to be. But I feel only half the work has been done. There is a second half to the season and we need to just maintain our focus and keep the world title within our sight. We want to win both the races this weekend, but as I always say this has to be taken one race at a time.”
Making an appearance on the F1 calendar for the first time since 1997, the Grand Prix of Xiamen will be held on Saturday followed by the Grand Prix of China at the same venue, the following day.
Torrente’s teammate Al Qamzi too has a chance to challenge for his first-ever world title. The Abu Dhabi driver, who made his debut in 2000, feels he has the world crown within striking distance heading into the final three races of the 2019 season.
“I think I can make my dream come true this year because I have a big opportunity to win the world title. With back to back races like this, the biggest worry is that a crash or a mechanical problem could mean goodbye to the title,” Al Qamzi said.
“But it’s rare for me to crash and I’ve been preparing myself for what’s ahead. It’s going to be a really tough weekend and we have to be fully focused in the qualifiers and the two races and leave nothing to chance,” he added.
Drivers will have their first opportunity on the Wuyan Bay waters with a two-hour practice session from 11am (UAE time) on Friday followed by the Rebellion official qualifying at 7am and the Grand Prix of Xiamen from noon on Saturday.
1. Shaun Torrente (USA/UAE) 35pts
2. Jonas Andersson (Sweden) 32pts
3. Thani Al Qamzi (UAE) 27pts
4. Marit Stromoy (Norway) 16pts
4. Peter Morin (France) 16pts
6. Bartek Marszalek (Poland) 8pts
7. Alex Carella (Italy) 5pts
8. Greg Foster (USA) 4pts
8. Ahmad Al Hameli (UAE) 4pts
10. Erik Stark (Sweden/UAE) 3pts
10. Alberto Comparato (Italy) 3pts.