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F1H2o Grand Prix of France preview

Grand Prix of London winner Erik Stark has signed for Team Abu Dhabi and will join Thani Al-Qemzi and Shaun Torrente in a powerful three-driver line-up in this weekend’s Grand Prix of France at Évian-les-Baines in south-eastern France.

The third round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship on a six-pin, 2.08km course on Lac Leman in France’s Rhône-Alpes region comes just two weeks after Stark claimed a sensational victory for the Maverick Racing Team at London’s Royal Victoria Dock to move into title contention behind three-time World Champion Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team and his new Team Abu Dhabi team-mate Thani Al-Qemzi.

Torrente, the winner of the opening round of the series in Portugal, suffered a disappointing outing in London and trails Stark by a single point in fourth place in what is developing into a scintillating contest in the Drivers’ Championship at this early stage of the season.

Stark’s shock signing for Team Abu Dhabi days after the London race had finished means that Rashed Al-Qemzi, the defending UIM F2 World Champion, will concentrate on the defence of his F2 crown and his UIM World Endurance Championship responsibilities.

Torrente (above), third in France last year, said:

London was a very disappointing weekend for me but, at least, Thani salvaged some points for the team.
How it finished wasn’t actually terrible for me.
I am only seven points off the lead and Thani is only three off the lead.
The way I look at it is just to move on.
The boat went back to DAC to be repaired.

It’s awesome to have Erik with us.
He’s a great driver and we can keep learning from each other and keep pushing each other.
I am looking forward to it.
I need to learn from the mistakes in London and go to France and get back on track.
We have everything we need to be successful and now I need to go and do it.
I have a good track record in France and have run really well there.
I have been close to wins.
Hopefully I can settle it up this time.

Abu Dhabi Team Manager Guido Cappellini said:

It is Abu Dhabi’s strategy to have the strongest line-up we can and this decision allows for Rashed (Al-Qemzi) to focus his attentions on the defence of his F2 world title.

The weekend’s timetable gets underway with scrutineering and administration on Friday, June 29th but there is no provision for the F4 Trophy boats on Lac Leman.

Free practice fires into life at 10.15hrs on Saturday morning (June 30) and precedes the three sessions of BRM Qualifying from 16.20hrs.

A second practice session will be permitted at the same time on Sunday morning (July 1) and the Grand Prix of France takes centre stage from 15.00hrs.

2018 Grand Prix of France – provisional entries:

Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi

Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi

Erik Stark (SWE) Team Abu Dhabi

Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team

Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team

Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team

Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team

Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team

Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team

Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team

Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team

Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden

Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden

Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team

Filip Roms (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team

Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team

Simone Schuft (DEU) Blaze F1 Team

Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team

Mette Bjerknaes (NOR) Maverick F1 Team

2018 UIM F1 H2O World Championship – standings after round 2:

1. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 27pts

2. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 24pts

3. Erik Stark (SWE) Maverick F1 Team/Team Abu Dhabi 21pts

4. Shaun Torrente (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 20pts

5. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 19pts

6. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 9pts

7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 8pts

8. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team 7pts

9. Grant Trask (AUS) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts

9. Duarte Benavente (PRT) F1 Atlantic Team 5pts

11. Marit Strømøy (NOR) Emirates Racing Team 4pts

12. Francesco Cantando (ITA) Blaze F1 Team 3pts

13. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden 2pts

13. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) Maverick F1 Team 2pts

2018 UIM F1 H2O Pole Position Championship – standings after round 2:

1. Alex Carella (ITA) Victory Team 24pts

2. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 22pts

3. Shaun Torrente (USA) Team Abu Dhabi 20pts

3. Erik Stark (SWE) Maverick F1 Team 20pts

5. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) Team Abu Dhabi 15pts

6. Peter Morin (FRA) CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team 14pts

7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) Victory Team 9pts

8. Erik Edin (SWE) Team Sweden 7pts

9. Bartek Marszalak (POL) Emirates Racing Team 5pts

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