Shaun Torrente (left) and teammate Thani Al Qamzi
Shaun Torrente (left) and teammate Thani Al Qamzi Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Team Abu Dhabi’s reigning world champion Shaun Torrente is expectantly looking at the remainder of the season following last week’s cancellation of the Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia, the opening round of this year’s UIM F1H2O World Championship.

Starting the defence of his world title, Torrente was left frustrated and disappointed along with fellow F1 drivers, teams and organisers following the cancellation of the opening round along the Dammam Corniche in Saudi Arabia, last weekend.

“No doubt, it’s been very disappointing not having any sort of fruitful action on the water. But ultimately, it is the safety that also needs to be considered,” Torrente told Gulf News from his home in Miami, Florida.

“All the teams had put in a lot of effort and it was no different for us. It’s a huge disappointment not to start the season, but, hopefully, we will have our chance to redeem ourselves in a better and more competitive way in Portugal,” he added.

Weather conditions were so adverse over the weekend as one metre waves and winds in excess of 30 kmph made it impossible for any sort of activity was possible. After the practice sessions in the F4-S and F1 categories, authorities decided to call off racing in the F4-S class, while leaving a gap for F1 boats to perform. But nothing changed on Saturday morning leaving organisers with no option but cancel the race in the interest of all concerned.

However, before the race was called off Torrente gave a brief glimpse of the form, which carried him to the world title last season during the morning’s qualifying session that had been cut short after 30 minutes due to deteriorating conditions.

At that point, the defending champion from the US was quickest over four laps with a time of 1:114.36s, a good 0.51 seconds quicker than Blaze Performance’s Francesco Cantando, while CTIC F1 Shenzhen China’s Peter Morin was another 3.92s adrift in third place.

Victory Team’s former four-time world champion Alex Carella was left hoping for an opportunity to payback in the future. “The less we think about last season, the better it is for the entire team. We have to put all that behind us and move forward. The pre-season has been a huge learning curve for me personally and for the entire team. We need to learn and move ahead with positive thoughts for the 2019 season. In Dammam, it was frustrating and we have to start when racing gets under way in Portugal,” Carella said.

“It’s been a full season with the Victory Team for me and I was finally looking at some action. We had everything going and I was confident of some action on the water till the bad weather came. All I can do now is put the Saudi Arabia race behind me and focus on Portimao. I’ve got to show my true potential for this team,” the Italian added.

The UIM F1H2O Championship will next head to the Algarve resort of Portimao for the Grand Prix of Portugal from May 17-19.