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Swede Jonas Andersson rounds off a triumphant season in the UIM F1H2O World Championship

by Narayan Marar 10 Dec 2023 05:20 PST
Team Abu Dhabi's Thani Al Qemzi in actioin in the Grand Prix of Sharjah © Team Abu Dhabi

Swede Jonas Andersson rounded off a triumphant season in the UIM F1H2O World Championship today with victory in the Grand Prix of Sharjah, as Team Abu Dhabi's Thani Al Qemzi grabbed a podium place in a dramatic finish.

Andersson, who clinched the individual driver's crown in Sardinia two months ago, recorded his fourth victory in a row, and clinched the F1H2O team championship for Team Sweden in partnership with Kalle Viippo, who finished fifth on the day.

Victory Team's Erik Stark took second place to finish runner-up in the championship, while Al Qemzi, who had helped Team Abu Dhabi dominate the team title race five seasons in a row, snatched third spot from China CTIC Team's Peter Morin by half a boat length on the finish line.

Morin took third place in the series ahead of Sharjah Team's Ferdinand Zandbergen, who had begun the race lying second in the championship, but made an early exit.

Andersson was in control from start to finish after winning the previous day's spectacular battle for pole position with Team Abu Dhabi's three-time world champion, Shaun Torrente.

Torrente, was unable to race following his accident during the second of Saturday's afternoon sprint races. But he was reunited with his team today after spending the night in hospital, and undergoing extensive medical tests.

He saw his two Abu Dhabi team-mates produce strong finishes to the season after both were disappointed during qualifying, while Team Abu Dhabi also finished runners up in the team championship.

As his cousin, Thani, climbed from seventh place at the start to gain another podium and fifth place overall in the championship, Rashed Al Qemzi, the four-time F2 world champion, gained three places to finish in the top ten.

Torrente was visited in hospital, and driven back to his team hotel, by Victory Team's Ahmad Al Fahim. The accident happened when Torrente's boat was clipped by Al Fahim's, and then collided with the Mad Croc Gillman Racing boat of Finnish driver Filip Roms's.

Initially, Fahim was given a red card and disqualified. This was later downgraded to a yellow, but a yellow from the previous round in Sardinia meant that Al-Fahim still missed the race through suspension.

"We had a good talk, and it was nice to speak to him, so that we had a chance to figure it all out," said Torrente. "I don't remember much after the accident, but I'm grateful to Guido (team manager Cappellinni), my team-mates, the rescue team, and everyone at the hospital."

Torrente had lunch with team-mates and visited the pits beside Khalid Lagoon before the race. He was flying home to the US as scheduled early tomorrow, but said he was looking forward to another new season in the UIM F1H2O World Championship.

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