Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente mixed it with four-time World Champion Alex Carella and three-time champion Philippe Chiappe in the official practice session on Saturday morning.
With 19 minutes of the session remaining, Carella topped the times with a 39.28sec lap, but Torrente proved that pre-race testing had been beneficial by posting a stunning time of 39.05sec to surge back to the top of the standings. His team mate Thani Al-Qemzi was down in ninth place with a best tour of 41 seconds.
But Sweden’s Erik Stark rocked the established drivers with a potent lap of 38.95sec with less than nine minutes of the session remaining to head the standings, only for Chiappe to run even quicker almost immediately with a tour of 38.42sec. Torrente retaliated with a 38.94sec to regain second position and also gave an indication of what teams could expect from a BRM Qualifying session in the afternoon.
The Team Abu Dhabi driver then ran even quicker with six minutes remaining to post a 38.34sec lap. Carella ran a 38.56sec tour in the closing minutes but Torrente held on to claim the session win. Al-Qemzi was ninth of the 19 drivers.
Eighteen drivers took to the water for extra practice on Friday afternoon. Torrente commented on the conditions:
With a lot of boats on the water, it gets rough real quick and then, depending on the wind, one lap you get a big gust and the next nothing.
Photo: Chris Davies