The Victory Team is hopeful of a much better performance ahead of the second round of the 2017 UIM F1 H2O World Championships to be held in Evian, France on July 1-2.
The opening round of the 34th season of the F1 powerboat series concluded in Portimao in the Algarve region of Portugal on April 23 with Victory Team coming up well short of expectations. The Victory Team duo of Shaun Torrente and Ahmed Al Hameli qualified in the top two spots in the make-shift qualifying held on Sunday morning.
However, Ahmed Al Hameli flipped out dramatically just after taking second in qualifying, and then Shaun Torrente limped out after leading from Pole Position later in the afternoon in the 50-lap race on the 1,937 metre course set on the Arade River of Portimao.
That cleared the way for defending champion Philippe Chiappe from the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China team to make a solid start for a record fourth world crown. The Frenchman led all the way, and despite being chased down later in the race by Team Sweden’s Erik Stark, finished comfortably at the top with Erik Stark yet another cruel casualty on the second last lap of the race.
Mad-Croc Baba Racing’s former world champion Sami Selio came in second behind Philippe Chiappe, while home favourite Duarte Benavente of the F1 Atlantic Team filled up the three podium spots. Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella started at the back of the grid, but fought his way to take a creditable fourth for nine points after his two teammates Thani Al Qamzi and rookie Rashid Al Qamzi had gone out early with damaged engines.
Former multiple world champion Scott Gillman, who has been given the responsibility for the Victory Team set-up this season, stayed hopeful despite no points against their name. “Our boats are very strong and we will be there at the top in the next race in Evian,” the former world champion from US remarked.
“Be sure, we will be ready for the Grand Prix of France,” he added.
Gillman’s countryman Torrente, who started the race from pole position, also remained upbeat despite the disappointment of limping out with engine trouble approaching the tenth lap. “We were really fast and the boats are really good this year. The power is really good,” he noted.
“We only had an unfortunate part failure and that happens. Overall I am upset, but I am excited to continue the season as we have the performance now to beat everybody heads up. We don’t need any luck. We don’t need anything. We just need to run our races, and that’s all we are going to do from now till Evian,” Torrente added.
2017 UIM F1 H2O Drivers’ World Championships: 1. Philippe Chiappe (CTIC F1 Shenzhen China) 20 pts; 2. Sami Selio (Mad-Croc Baba Racing) 15; 3. Duarte Benavente (F1 Atlantic Team) 12; 4. Alex Carella (Team Abu Dhabi) 9; 5. Bartek Marszalek (Blaze Performance) 7; 6. Cedric Deguisne (Maverick F1) 5; 7. Trask Grant (F1 Atlantic Team) 4; 8. Erik Stark (Team Sweden) 3; 9. Peter Morin (CTIC F1 Shenzhen China) 2.
2017 UIM F1 H2O Teams’ World Championships: 1. CTIC F1 Shenzhen China (22pts); 2. F1 Atlantic Team (16); 3. Mad-Croc Baba Racing (15); 4. Team Abu Dhabi (9); 5. Blaze Performance (7); Maverick F1 (5); Team Sweden (3).