He had originally been placed fifth but after the French driver Peter Morin, racing for the CTIC Shenzen China Team was given a one lap penalty for a start line infringement it boosted Zandbergen up to fourth.
‘That race was just off the scale’ said a delighted Zandbergen. ‘You can do as many laps in practice as you can, but it doesn’t prepare you for what happened today.’
As his race got going he had been trying to catch the Norwegian racer Marit Stromoy but as he got close enough to pounce out came the yellow flags and he had to hold his position. Once racing resumed Stromoy used her experience to put enough distance between herself and the Sharjah Team driver.
‘For the last fifteen laps I was having problems with visibility’ he said. ‘The salt water kept making it difficult to see out of the cockpit screen.’
Fortunately, he was able to continue and crossed the finish line much to the delight of the team. Watching on from the shore was his proud parents and Zandbergen joked that his mothers pulse rate was probably higher than his Mercury engine’s RPM.
Also watching his young Dutch teammate cross the finish line was Sami Selio. His race had been cut short after just seven laps when a small bolt holding the engine’s throttle linkage together broke. His race hadn’t got off to the best of starts either following the long delay due to strong cross winds moving some of the turn buoys off the circuit. When he finally got going he manage to overtake Stromoy before the second turn but knew early on that the gap between himself and both Jonas Andersson and Shaun Torrente was just too wide.
His obvious disappointment was made slightly tempered by Zandbergen fourth place.
‘He did a great drive today and I’m also very excited to see how quickly he took on board all the training and how well that has paid off.’
The second round of the 2021 U.I.M. World Championship had now turned into a survival test after the mid-afternoon winds hit speeds of more than twenty-five knots at times forcing drivers to race defensively for more than 45 minutes on the rough Rio Mondego in front of thousands of fans.
It certainly proved to be another tough day on the water though for Filip Roms. Having gain several places from tenth on the grid his engine then developed an electrical problem with the coil resulting in it dropping to five cylinders’ for several laps.
He kept running and eventually crossed the line in twelfth place.
The third and final round of the 2021 U.I.M. F1 World Championship will have its season finale on Sunday, 28 November at 15:30 with qualifying for the event taking place on the Mondego River at 15:00 local time Saturday. 27 November