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Maritimo 2023 S600 LEADERBOARD

Team Abu Dhabi ready for big test as Andersson sets the standard in Indonesia

by Narayana Marar 1 Mar 00:45 PST
Alberto Comparato - Team Abu Dhabi - Grand Prix of Indonesia © Simon Palfrader

Team Abu Dhabi are primed for a major test in the Grand Prix of Indonesia tomorrow as champion Jonas Andersson aims for a winning start to his title defence in the 2024 UIM F1H2O World Championship.

Veteran Emirati driver Thani Al Qemzi and his new Abu Dhabi team-mate, Alberto Comparato, geared up for this year's opening round with steady points-scoring performances in the first of today's new style sprint races on Lake Toba.

Following a tough qualifying session 24 hours earlier, Al Qemzi and Comparato had a comfortable 14-lap preparation for the first Grand Prix of the season, knowing they must be at their best to follow the early standard being set in by Andersson in Indonesia.

After edging out fellow-Swede Erik Stark to grab pole position yesterday, Andersson took the opening sprint race by more than 13 seconds from Poland's Bartek Marszalek.

That gave him ten championship points in the new Grand Prix format, a haul matched by Victory Team driver Stark when he won sprint race two by just over seven seconds from the new Sharjah team rookie, Rusty Wyatt.

Al Qemzi, making his 153rd career Grand Prix start tomorrow on the world's biggest volcanic lake, will be looking to use all experience to climb the field and add to the five points he collected with today's sixth place finish.

Comparato was forced to start the sprint race at the back of the field after his engine, ruined when the boat became entangled with a buoy during qualifying, had to be replaced.

The highly talented young Italian quickly found his rhythm this morning, powering his way past French drivers Cédric Deguisne and Alexandre Bourgeot before settling in behind Al Qemzi to score his first four championship points as a Team Abu Dhabi driver.

There will be many more to follow, and Comparato is aiming for a powerful start from the back of the field tomorrow when the anticipated rougher conditions could cause problems for any of the drivers losing maximum concentration.

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