The pair have arrived in the ancient town of Macon Val de Saone in a confident mood as they pursue a fifth successive world team title and look to reclaim the drivers’ crown which agonisingly eluded them in a dramatic climax in Portugal last season.
Al Qemzi fell just one point short in his bid for a first individual driver’s title while a blown engine in qualifying ended Torrente’s hopes of a third success in a row as Swede Jonas Andersson emerged victorious.
All that is now history, and the Team Abu Dhabi duo are determined to make a positive start to the new season after several days of testing in San Nazzaro, Italy last week under the guidance of team manager and ten-time F1H2O champion, Guido Cappellini.
It is now twenty-two years since Al Qemzi first launched his quest for a world title, and no driver has worked harder or gone closer without claiming the ultimate prize.
When Al Qemzi spoke to PRW at the test he said.
We have trained hard and prepared ourselves well. We have good boats, and everything that happened last year is forgotten. This is a new season, and I believe I can do something this time. I want to bring back the driver’s title to Abu Dhabi.
Partnering Torrente as he emerged as champion in 2019 and 2020 has only served to underline his self-belief, and the Emirati draws strength from the bond he has forged with the American in Team Abu Dhabi colours.
Shaun and I are more like brothers than team-mates. We work very well together. He is always ready to offer advice and support. We have an incredibly good relationship, and we believe in each other.
As much as Torrente would relish a third championship title for himself, no-one would be more delighted should Al Qemzi come through to claim his first this season.
Following the test session Torrente said.
The mood of the team right now is one of excitement and we’re eager to get going again. Like everyone in the paddock we are all hopeful that we can have a proper championship with multiple races, and on top of all that, we’re relishing the opportunity to bring back the driver’s championship again, with either myself or Thani.
The first action on the 1500 metre Macon circuit takes place on Friday with an extra free practice session at 16.00 (local time). A second practice session on Saturday morning is followed by Official Qualifying at 15:00, with the final practice session on Sunday morning and the UIM F1H2O Grand Prix of France at 16:00.
Images by Chris Davies/PRW