Dubai: Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente cannot see how the rest of the field can cope up with the marker set by his side going into the final two races of the 2018 UIM F1H2O Powerboat Championships that conclude in the UAE next month.
The Miami resident — who made a switch from Victory Team at the end of last season — is at the top of the drivers’ standings following his classy pole to line finish to lead a podium sweep for Team Abu Dhabi at the Grand Prix of India, the fifth round of the competition earlier this month.
Now heading to familiar waters at the Abu Dhabi Corniche in the first week of December followed by the finale at the Buhairah Corniche in Sharjah, Torrente finds it difficult to see any other team or driver challenge the might of Team Abu Dhabi.
“We put in a lot of hard work during the pre-season and all this work is now paying off for all of us,” Torrente told Gulf News.
“Honestly speaking, I would find it difficult to see how anyone could turn things around at this stage of the competition and get past our boats. Even if there is someone then we would be ready for that challenge,” he added.
Team Abu Dhabi have dominated the podium bagging 12 of the 15 available slots including three successive podium lockouts in France, China and India. Torrente leads the trio of Team Abu Dhabi drivers with three wins and a third place (the Grand Prix of Great Britain was the only blip), while teammate Erik Stark has two wins and a couple of thirds. Always a dour fighter, Thani Al Qamzi, who led the title race going into the Grand Prix of India, is third with three third places.
“What we’ve done is that we have stuck around as a team. As drivers, we are the ones to deliver on the water, but it is the entire crew and set-up of the team that has gelled so well and helped deliver consistent results throughout this season,” Torrente explained.
“We have a good momentum going and we need to just keep our focus and look ahead. The next season is still not at the back of our minds. We are now looking at our home race in Abu Dhabi followed by the Grand Prix of Sharjah where we hope to do what no team has done before,” the American added.
With the last two races left, Torrente leads the championship standings on 72 points from Stark on 65, Al Qamzi remains on 54, while Peter Morin the closest challenger in fourth with 39 points.
The penultimate round of the season will be the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi on December 6-8, while the season-finale will be in Sharjah from December 13-15.
1. Shaun Torrente (Team Abu Dhabi — 72 points); 2. Erik Stark (Team Abu Dhabi — 65); 3. Thani Al Qamzi (Team Abu Dhabi — 54); 4. Peter Morin (CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team — 39); 5. Philippe Chiappe (CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team — 34); 6. Marit Stromoy (Emirates Racing Team — 26); 7. Erik Edin (Team Amaravati — 18); 8. Ahmad Al Hameli (Victory Team — 18); 9. Jonas Andersson (Team Amaravati — 14); 10. Francesco Cantando (Blaze Performance — 10); 11. Alex Carella (Victory Team — 9)
1. Team Abu Dhabi — 126 points; 2. CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team — 73; 3. Team Amaravati — 32; 4. Emirates Racing Team — 30; 5. Victory Team — 27.