Reigning champions Team Abu Dhabi are determined to make a winning start to the 2019 UIM F1H2O World Championship which regroups with the Grand Prix of Portugal this weekend.
After storms disrupted the opening round of the series in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, defending individual champion Shaun Torrente and team-mate Thani Al Qemzi are especially eager to launch their double title defence with a win in Portimao.
Torrente has particularly good feelings on his return to Portugal where he grabbed pole position and scored a double race win on his debut with Team Abu Dhabi last year:
I’m excited to get back to Portugal.
It was a great Grand Prix for us last year.
I felt nervous as it was my first race for Team Abu Dhabi, and I was very happy to come out on top.
Going back to a venue where you’ve won before makes you feel that you are good for that race course.
I really love that venue and I’m looking forward to racing there again.
It was very frustrating to not get started in Saudi after all the hard work done by the team to be ready for the new season.
We want to get the first Grand Prix in the books and start off on a good foot, and I just can’t wait to get going again in Portimao.
Al Qemzi, third in last year’s drivers’ championship, commented:
I have a very good feeling that we will retain our team title this season. But for the time being we’re focused only on this event which will show how strong the competition is this year.
As for main contenders in the individual championship, I can’t look past my own team-mate.
Shaun is definitely the man to beat.
Action on the 1.937km Arade River Circuit gets under way on Friday afternoon with free practice ahead of a busy schedule of qualifying and race activity on Saturday and Sunday.
Tony Lewis, is a former British print and BBC broadcast journalist with more than 40 years’ media and PR experience.