Dubai: The Dubai-based Victory Team has drafted in two brand new boats for the remainder of the UIM Formula One Powerboat Championships with an eye on the 2019 season.
The Victory Team crew has been giving the new boats final touches at its Jebel Ali headquarters before shipping these across to China in the first week of September much before the start of the Grand Prix of Xiangyang — Round Four of the 2018 UIM Formula One Powerboat Championships, to be held from September 21-23.
“The opening three rounds were a steep learning curve for the team,” Victory Team Manager Scott Gillman told Gulf News.
“Racing with new boats has been a whole new world for everyone in the team. It means adjusting to racing conditions while also coming to terms with the boat set-up,” he added.
Despite harbouring huge ambitions for 2018, the Victory Team has been playing catch-up with the rest as they lie in fourth with 19 points in the teams standings after three rounds of the championships. With American driver Shaun Torrente swapping sides and moving to the capital, Team Abu Dhabi is at the top of the teams standings with 79 points, followed by CTIC F1 Shenzhen China (53) and Maverick F1 Racing (24), while Victory Team is in fourth with 19 points.
Thanks to two outright wins in London and Evian, Team Sweden’s Erik Stark is at the top of the drivers’ standings with 41 points. But the Team Abu Dhabi duo of Thani Al Qamzi and Torrente is breathing down his neck with 39 and 32 points respectively. Former four-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe is in fourth with 27 points, while fellow CTIC driver Peter Morin is fifth with 26, leaving the Victory Team duo of Ahmad Al Hameli (10) and Carella (9) in seventh and eighth positions.
“The first three rounds were real eye-openers for us as a team,” Gillman admitted.
“We didn’t get the start we wanted in Portugal, so we had to do something different with each round. The last race in Evian, France was totally a different style where we managed to get some points to try and ease up the standings,” the former multiple world champion from the US added.
Next month the boats will move to China for the Grand Prix of Xiangyang and then on to Amaravati in India (November 16-18) followed by the final two rounds in the UAE — Round 6 in Abu Dhabi (December 6-8) and the final round in Sharjah (December 13-15).
“The next two rounds in China and India are going to be crucial to add some valuable points. After that we have the home waters where we have traditionally done well. The realistic goal would be try and get at least a top-three finish in the next couple of races,” Gillman asserted.
“After that the ideal thing would be to win at least one of the last two races so that we can move into the new season with the right sort of momentum,” he added.
Drivers’ standings (after three rounds) 1. Erik Stark (41pts); 2. Thani Al Qamzi (39); 3. Shaun Torrente (32); 4. Philippe Chiappe (27); Peter Morin (26); 6. Erik Edin (11); 7. Ahmad Al Hameli (10); 8. Alex Carella (9); 9. Marit Stromoy (8); 10. Sami Selio (7).
Teams’ standings (after three rounds) 1. Team Abu Dhabi (79pts); 2. CTIC F1 Shenzhen China (53); Maverick F1 Racing (24); 4. Victory Team (19); 5. Team Sweden (16).