Figueira da Foz, Portugal, 27th November, 2021:
Team Abu Dhabi’s Shaun Torrente and
Thani Al Qemzi will be given a free licence to compete for the drivers’ title when the UIM F1H2O World Championship is decided in Portugal tomorrow.
Torrente and Al Qemzi are certain to deliver a fourth consecutive world team championship to Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, and they will not be expected to race to any team orders in the battle for the individual drivers’ crown.
That became clear today as high winds forced the postponement of the qualifying series for the Grand Prix of Portugal, and the fight for pole position will now take place tomorrow morning ahead of the final round of the shortened F1H2O 2021 series in the afternoon.
Defending champion Torrente leads the standings by just three points from Al Qemzi who is trying to claim the F1H2O drivers’ crown for the first time in a career stretching back 21 years.
While any of the top six drivers can mathematically clinch the title, the championship battle is realistically a three-boat race between Torrente, Al Qemzi, and Sweden’s Jonas Andersson, who lies third in the standings after his victory in the Grand Prix of Figueira Da Foz.
Torrente or Al Qemzi would become champion with victory tomorrow, while a win for Andersson would only be good enough should Torrente slip outside the top three and Al Qemzi finish lower than second.
The Team Abu Dhabi duo are both chasing a place in the F1H2O history books, Torrente in attempting to become only the fourth driver to win three successive championships, and Al Qemzi in trying to become the first Arab driver to be crowned world champion.
The veteran Emirati driver was initially classified as sixth in yesterday’s Grand Prix of Figueira Da Foz, but rose to fifth and gained two points when Frenchman Peter Morin was dropped from third to seventh because of a jump start.
Gusting winds are adding to the problems for competitors on the narrow, 1,770m Figueira Da Foz, and Al Qemzi was among the most affected during Thursday’s qualifying when he could not find a clear path to reach the shoot-out.
He may need to clinch pole position on Sunday morning to go on and beat team-mate Torrente to the prized F1H2O drivers’ title, although the two vastly experienced drivers know that nothing can be taken for granted as top speeds reach 220kmh in difficult conditions.
F1H2O World Championship leading positions:
- Shaun Torrente Team Abu Dhabi 30 pts
- Thani Al Qemzi Team Abu Dhabi 27 pts
- Jonas Andersson Team Sweden 20pts
- Peter Morin CTIC Shenzhen China Team 13 pts
- Marit Stromoy Stromoy Racing 12pts
- Sami Selio Sharjah Team 12 pts
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