Team Abu Dhabi aim for a fourth successive victory in the Grand Prix of France this weekend as Shaun Torrente and Thani Al Qemzi look to build on their impressive start to the 2019 UIM F1H2O World Championship.
The reigning team champions return to action in Evian on the traditionally unpredictable waters of Lac Leman after a one-two success in Portugal where Torrente’s slender victory over Al Qemzi hinted that the team-mates could dominate the chase for this season’s drivers’ crown.
While the host nation has never produced a French Grand Prix winner, Team Abu Dhabi have every reason to approach the event with confidence.
They filled the podium in France last year, with Erik Stark wining from Al Qemzi and eventual world F1 champion Torrente, and the duo will be aiming to extend team manager Guido Capellini’s impressive history of Grand Prix success in France.
Cappellini won the event five times in his career, albeit when the race was run at Chalon sur Saône, and after taking charge of Team Abu Dhabi in 2015 guided Alex Carella to successive victories in Evian over the next two years.
The Italian ten-times former world champion said:
We’ve made no changes since Portugal.
The boats are the same and strategy is the same.
We’re not worrying about conditions, we’re focusing on getting everything right from our point of view.
We want to make sure Shaun and Thani go into the weekend in the right frame of mind to beat the opposition.
In Torrente and Al Qemzi (below), he has two drivers who clearly mix well, their friendly rivalry motivating each other to go flat out for the individual No.1 spot, while being equally aware that the F1 team title is a major target at Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.
Having scored eight career Grand Prix victories apiece, both are focused on a ninth win in Evian, where the boats take to Lac Leman for free practice at 10.15 am local time on Saturday prior to afternoon qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix getting under way at 15:00 CET
F1H2O World Championship drivers’ standings
1. Shaun Torrente – Team Abu Dhabi 20pts
2. Thani Al Qemzi – Team Abu Dhabi 15
3. Jonas Andersson – Team Amaravati 12
4. Peter Morin – CTIC F1 Shenzen China 9
5. Marit Stromoyv – Emirates Racing 7
6. Bartek Marszalek – Emirates Racing 5
F1H2O World Championship team standings
1. Team Abu Dhabi 35pts
2. Team Amaravati 12
3. Emirates Racing 12
4. CTIC F1 Shenzhen China 9
5. Victory 4
6. F1 Atlantic 3