Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente retained his UIM F1H2O World Championship title in the most dramatic fashion today, edging out Sweden’s Jonas Andersson on a countback after the Swede won the Grand Prix of Sharjah.
Andersson looked set to claim the F1H2O crown for the first time until a damaged trim on the last lap for three-times world champion Philippe Chiappe saw Torrente squeeze past the Frenchman to snatch second place in the dying moments of the race.
It meant Torrente and Andersson finished tied on 79 points after securing two victories each, with the American emerging as champion as he recorded one more second place finish.
There were jubilant scenes beside Khalid Lagoon as Team Abu Dhabi hailed not only a second successive driver’s title for Torrente, who plunged into the water to celebrate, but also another world team championship.
He told me after:
I was pushing like crazy, but we have been through so much with that motor this week, and the team have kept it together.
Every time we took the boat off the water we have had to fix something.
We didn’t think it was going to make the race.
In the last five laps it was down on power, but I just kept pushing as hard as I could, hoping.
When I came down the front straight I saw his (Chiappe) motor bobble, and I could tell something was wrong.
I thought, no way. I just couldn’t believe it.
I’m glad I just made it home. I can’t thank the guys in the team enough.
They worked like crazy and the least I could do was give them 150 per cent.
We didn’t have our best bullet this week, but we still got second place, somehow, some way. and that’s just down to this team for working so hard.
They never stopped. I’m just blessed to be with them.
Torrente paid Tribute to Andersson, saying:
Jonas had an amazing season. I feel for him.
He was 40 seconds from being world champion.
He did everything he could do, but so did I, and I just got lucky at the end.
Poland’s Bartek Marszalek finished third ahead of Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al Qemzi who was placed fourth overall in the championship as well as the race.
Grand Prix of Sharjah results
1. Jonas Andersson Team Sweden
2. Shaun Torrente Team Abu Dhabi + 6.24
3. Bartek Marszalek Emirates Racing + 8.28
4. Thani Al Qemzi Team Abu Dhabi + 11.76
5. Sami Selio Sharjah Team + 16.26
6. Philippe Chiappe CTIC F1 Shenzhen China + 20.22
7. Alberto Comparato F1 Atlantic + L1
8. David Del Pin Victory Team + L1
9. Cédric Deguisne Maverick F1 Racing + L2
UIM F1H2O World Championship final positions
1. Shaun Torrente 79pts – champion
2. Jonas Andersson 79
3. Marit Stromoy 37
4. Thani Al Qemzi 36
5. Bartek Marszalek 26
6. Alex Carella 25
Team championship positions
1. Team Abu Dhabi 115
2. Team Sweden 89
3. Emirates Racing 63
4. CTIC F1 Shenzhen China 43
5. Maverick F1 Racing 25
6. F1 Atlantic 15
Tony Lewis, is a former British print and BBC broadcast journalist with more than 40 years’ media and PR experience.