Shaikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council and Member of the Sharjah Executive Council with the top three in yesterday’s race: Erik Stark, Jonas Andersson and Shaun Torrente. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

Sharjah: Team Abu Dhabi signed off with one of their most dominant showings with Shaun Torrente adding the drivers’ title to last week’s teams’ crown as the curtain came down on the 2018 UIM F1H2O World Championship on Saturday.

Needing at least a fourth place at the Grand Prix of Sharjah to be crowned the drivers’ world champion for the first time, Torrente came up with a superb drive to take third place behind teammate and Sharjah race winner Erik Stark and Team Amaravati’s Jonas Andersson.

The third place saw the driver from Miami top the drivers’ standings with 89 points, just four points adrift of teammate Stark who ended runner-up with 85 points, while Thani Al Qamzi ended third overall with 74 to complete a clean sweep for Team Abu Dhabi.

Team Abu Dhabi, who had sealed their third world teams’ crown in four years at the end of last week’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, further consolidated their position at the top with 143 points leaving CTIC Shenzhen F1 China Team in second with 96 points, while Team Amaravati were third best for 2018 with 54 points.

“The dream is now real and I want to thank everyone, especially my family back home [in the US], to make this dream happen for me today. All of them never gave up on me and that helped me achieve this childhood dream today,” a tearful Torrente said.

“This has been a story book ending for me. They say the first world title is the toughest, so I think I can hope for a few more in the next few years.”

Race winner Stark was happy with his second overall in the drivers’ standings behind Torrente. “Before Portimao [Round one] I was not even sure about racing this season, and here I was fighting for the world title. That’s one huge achievement for me,” the Swedish driver said.

“I did everything I could and I won this race in Sharjah for the first time ever. It was close and Shaun deserved to be the new world champion.”

Starting from pole, Stark was in smooth form as he was first to reach the corner and take the lead chased down by Jonas Andersson while Thani Al Qamzi jumped in from seventh into third and Torrente made two places into fourth followed by defending four-time world champion Alex Carella from Victory Team.

But there was an immediate yellow flag as Team Amaravati’s Thai driver Suttiphan Sookbuangbon spun off and crashed. After the restart two laps later Stark maintained his lead followed by Andersson, Al Qamzi and Torrente. However, Al Qamzi became the next casualty as he limped out on the 17th lap and by the time the race reached midway of the 44 laps, Carella too had pulled out with mechanical issues handing out fourth spot to former two-time world champion Sami Selio of the Mad-Croc Baba Team.

There were another two high-profile exits as CTIC Shenzen F1 China Team’s Peter Morin dropped out on lap 28, while Francesco Cantando departed on Lap 40 leaving Stark, Andersson and Torrente the three podium spots at the end of the Grand Prix of Sharjah.

Results

1. Erik Stark (Sweden) Team Abu Dhabi (44 laps); 2. Jonas Andersson (Sweden) Team Amaravati (+12.27sec); 3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi (+22.95sec); 4. Sami Selio (Finland) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team (+25.89sec); 5. Erik Edin (Sweden) Team Amaravati (+28.39sec); 6. Philippe Chiappe (France) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team L2; 7. Filip ROMs (Finland) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team L2; 8. Grant Trask (Austria) F1 Atlantic Team L3; 9. Cédric Deguisne (France) Maverick F1 Team L4; 10. Simone Schuft (Germany) Blaze F1 Team L9

Standings

1. Shaun Torrente (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi — 89 pts; 2. Erik Stark (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi — 85 pts; 3. Thani Al Qamzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi — 74 pts; 4. Peter Morin (France) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team — 54 pts; 5. Philippe Chiappe (France) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team — 42 pts; 6. Marit Stromoy (Norway) Emirates Racing Team — 35 pts; 7. Jonas Andersson (Sweden) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati — 29 pts; 8. Sami Selio (Finland) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team — 28 pts; 9. Erik Edin (Sweden) Team Sweden/Team Amaravati — 25 pts; 10. Ahmad Al Hameli (UAE) Victory Team — 18 pts