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UIM F1H2O Worlds: Sharjah rookie grabs dramatic win as Team Abu Dhabi new boy climbs in Indonesia

by Narayana Marar 3 Mar 06:03 PST
Team Abu Dhabi's Alberto Comparato © Team Abu Dhabi

Sharjah rookie Rusty Wyatt recorded a dramatic victory in the Grand Prix of Indonesia today as Team Abu Dhabi battled through a tough start to the 2024 UIM F1H2O World Championship.

Reigning world champion Jonas Andersson looked poised for a record fifth race win in a row but dropped to third place as Wyatt and Victory Team's Erik Stark both passed him in a sensational finish.

Making his Team Abu Dhabi debut and starting down the field after a broken engine in qualifying, Alberto Comparato climbed seven places on the day to finish inside the top ten.

The young Italian will now be aiming for a big improvement on his ninth place when round two at the end of this month introduces Vietnam as the latest new championship venue.

His Abu Dhabi team-mate, Thani Al Qemzi, will equally be looking for a change in fortunes next time out. Starting his 153rd Grand Prix in ninth spot following a disappointing qualifying run, the veteran Emirati driver reached the finish in seventh place. He later collected a one-lap penalty for a start infringement and dropped to 12th.

After a false start caused by a technical issue, Stark looked to have grabbed an important advantage over Andersson as he squeezed past his fellow Swede on the first lap, before the race was halted when Ferdinand Zandbergen crashed out.

Andersson regained control from the re-start, and shrugged off several attacks by Stark before the final lap saw them tussling for the win down the last straight, both boats slowing with technical issues.

As the Victory driver squeezed ahead, Wyatt powered his way through on the outside right at the finish to become the first rookie to win a Grand Prix.

Sharjah's Canadian driver takes an immediate lead in the championship from Stark, and Al Qemzi and Comparato will be determined to ensure that the UAE has three teams challenging for honours as the season progresses.

Team Abu Dhabi have secured 17 world championship titles since Guido Cappellini took over as team manager in 2015, and the Italian racing legend is determined to deliver more success to Abu Dhabi Marine Sports Club.

His meticulous planning and attention to detail will be aimed at giving Al Qemzi and Comparato a significant boost to see them challenging for podium places in Vietnam.

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