Shaun Torrente not only won the Grand Prix of China in Xiamen this afternoon, more importantly to him and Team Abu Dahabi, he regained the lead of the 2019 UIM F1H2o World Championship.
Torrente leads Jonas Andersson (who was second), by 5 points going into the final race, which will be held in Sharjah on December 21, only those 2 drivers can now win the title.
The driver from Florida was put under early pressure in the race by yesterday’s Grand Prix of Xiamen winner, Italy’s Alex Carella.
The race was yellow flagged on lap 4 when Cédric Deguisne’s motor departed company from his Moore hull, when it was restarted 3 laps later, Torrente and Carella got away well until the Italian four time World Champion spectacularly somersaulted out of contention.
In a race of attrition only nine of 17 starters finished, the Grand Prix ending under a final yellow flag after 31 laps, with Torrente winning from France’s Phillippe Chiappe and Andersson in third.
At the restart on lap 12 Torrente came under pressure from Peter Morin who maintained a sustained challenge for 10 laps and closed to within 1.3s when the yellow was shown again, this time heralding the exit of Thani Al Qemzi after barrel rolling his DAC, his title challenge evaporating at the same time.
Again Torrente managed the restart well but this time it was Chiappe and Jonas Andersson taking up the chase after both passed Stromoy with Chiappe’s teammate Morin retiring on lap 23 with an engine problem.
In the closing stages Torrente looked to have the race under control when the yellow was raised on lap 28 after Alberto Comparato caught a wave and nosedived ripping off his left sponson, Torrente leading Chiappe and Andersson round for three laps and taking the chequered flag under the yellow.
It was a nerve racking race with all those restarts and everyone was coming for me.
The wind was ridiculous it was just picking the boat up and moving it all over the place.
Carella and I were giving it everything, he almost went then I almost went and then he did.
But the target was always to get to Sharjah in front.
Philippe Chiappe’s second place gave the three time champion his first points of the season and ended a long barren run with London 2018 the last time he was on the podium:
It’s been a busy weekend, not at all easy and today was a very hard race.
It was a good result for the team and at last I finish a race this year.
Third place for Jonas Andersson keeps his title hopes very much intact .
I am very happy with the result but I just didn’t have the speed.
My set up was totally wrong for these conditions, it was just too rough.
We are still in the fight and we are going to Sharjah to win.
Marit Stromoy rounded off a strong weekend in Xiamen and followed her podium yesterday finishing in fourth and maintaining third place in the championship standings, with Erik Edin having by far his best performance and best result of the season coming home in fifth, Sami Selio another to produce a strong showing in sixth, his teammate Filip Roms’ race ending with technical issues on lap 20.
After starting from 17th off the dock Bartek Marszalek fought his way back up through the field to take seventh, with Greg Foster picking up his third points finish in a row and again enjoyed a close battle with teammate Francesco Cantando before his retirement on lap 25 after a coming together with Comparato.
Erik Stark’s debut weekend with Victory Team ending in more disappointment, retiring early on lap 6, David Del Pin getting to the end in ninth.
Torrente told me by messenger after the race:
Everybody gets knocked down John!
Not everyone can get up and fight back.
It certainly was a dramatic turn around over the double-header weekend by Shaun Torrente and Team Abu Dhabi.
Additional reporting Nigel Quilter and Tony Lewis
UIM F1H2o Grand Prix of China
|Driver||#||Team||Hull / Engine||Time|
|Shaun Torrente||1||Team Abu Dhabi||DAC / Mercury|
|Philippe Chiappe||7||CTIC F1 Shenzhen China||Moore / Mercury||+ 0.91|
|Jonas Andersson||14||Team Sweden||DAC / Mercury||+ 2.75|
|Marit Strømøy||50||Emirates Racing||BaBa / Mercury||+ 4.32|
|Erik Edin||15||Team Sweden||DAC / Mercury||+ L1|
|Sami Seliö||11||Sharjah Team||BaBa / Mercury||+ L1|
|Bartek Marszalek||77||Emirates Racing||DAC / Mercury||+ L1|
|Greg Foster||36||Blaze Performance||Blaze / Mercury||+ L1|
|David Del Pin||3||Victory Team||Victory / Mercury||+ L2|
|Alberto Comparato||9||F1 Atlantic Team||DAC / Mercury||DNF|
|Francesco Cantando||37||Blaze Performance||Blaze / Mercury||DNF|
|Peter Morin||8||CTIC F1 Shenzhen China||Moore / Mercury||DNF|
|Thani Al Qemzi||2||Team Abu Dhabi||DAC / Mercury||DNF|
|Filip Roms||12||Sharjah Team||BaBa / Mercury||DNF|
|Alex Carella||70||Maverick Racing||DAC / Mercury||DNF|
|Erik Stark||74||Victory Team||DAC / Mercury||DNF|
|Cédric Deguisne||73||Maverick Racing||Moore / Mercury||DNF|
|Duarte Benavente||10||F1 Atlantic Team||Moore / Mercury||DNF|
2019 UIM F1H2o World Championship
|Driver||#||Team||Hull / Engine||Points|
|Shaun Torrente||1||Team Abu Dhabi||DAC / Mercury||64|
|Jonas Andersson||14||Team Sweden||DAC / Mercury||59|
|Marit Strømøy||50||Emirates Racing||BaBa / Mercury||37|
|Thani Al Qemzi||2||Team Abu Dhabi||DAC / Mercury||27|
|Alex Carella||70||Maverick Racing||DAC / Mercury||25|
|Peter Morin||8||CTIC F1 Shenzhen China||Moore / Mercury||23|
|Philippe Chiappe||7||CTIC F1 Shenzhen China||Moore / Mercury||15|
|Bartek Marszalek||77||Emirates Racing||DAC / Mercury||14|
|Greg Foster||36||Blaze Performance||Blaze / Mercury||12|
|Erik Edin||15||Team Sweden||DAC / Mercury||10|
|Alberto Comparato||9||F1 Atlantic Team||DAC / Mercury||8|
|Sami Seliö||11||Sharjah Team||BaBa / Mercury||6|
|Duarte Benavente||10||F1 Atlantic Team||Moore / Mercury||3|
|Erik Stark||74||Victory Team||DAC / Mercury||3|
|David Del Pin||3||Victory Team||Victory / Mercury||2|
John raced Offshore UIM Class 3 in the 1980’s & 1990’s.
He served as the Cowes Torquay Cowes Event Director for 4 years, including running the 50 th Anniversary Event in 2010.
He has recently organised 4 British Offshore races under UKOPRA sanction.
He is the Editor of Powerboat Racing World.