The powerful Abu Dhabi three boat team, managed by ten times world champion Guido Cappellini started as favourite particularly now they have Swede Erik Stark in the camp, and American Shaun Torrente was determined to push the Swede for the number one spot, while veteran Thani Al Qemzi, the only native UAE driver in the Abu Dhabi line-up, could still have upset the top two.
The 2018 French GP hosted by the water capital of Europe Evian promised to be one of the most hotly contested championships this year following an exciting qualifying session on Saturday. The race circuit was in stark contrast to the London GP which was staged in the confined waters of the historic Royal Victoria Dock whereas the French race track was on the huge Lak Lamon, 55 miles long, which can be quite choppy at times.
It’s usually not that easy to predict who will fill the number one spot on the podium prior to the race, but in this case it was obvious that it would take a very quick driver to beat Erik Stark. Much to everyone’s surprise it was Thani Al Qamzi who chased Stark all the way for the runner up slot, his best place this term, and to put a big smile on the Abu Dhabi fans’ faces while their Shaun Torrente filled third place.
Team Sweden’s Erik Edin
France’s three times world champion Philippe Chiappe has not enjoyed the best of luck in Evian with a history of breakdowns there. This year was no exception as, after holding onto second place, he suddenly headed for the pits and his mechanic discovered a propeller blade missing. With four more events still to go his fans will be keeping fingers and toes crossed the driver from CTIC China can make good this term.
A titanic battle unfolded behind the leaders with Italy’s Francesco Cantando driving a superb race lying in third place for most of the time but lost power around lap 37 of 42. Cantando had to concede to Sweden’s Erik Edin and France’s Peter Morin. Edin’s team mate Jonas Andersson started at the back of the grid after changing an engine but drove like a man possessed to finish 6th just ahead of Team Emirates’ duo Marit Stromoy and Bart Marszalek.
CTIC China’s Peter Morin
There was a few hard luck stories including Philippe Chiappe lying in 3rd place until a prop blade dropped off. After pitting to see the damage he returned to the race but came in last. On lap 7 we lost the normally consistent Finn Filip Roms when he flipped his Mad Croc, and on lap 23 Victory’s reigning world champion Alex Carella barrel rolled damaging his knee and requiring a trip to hospital. This was the second crash Carella has endured in as many meeting and it appears the boats provided by Victory do not suit his style. Norway’s F2 pilot Mette Bjerknaes was making her second F1 appearance after pleading on Social Media to raise funds to compete in Evian. Obviously her pleas were successful as she donned the Maverick overalls and finished in 13th place ahead of Cantando and Chiappe who were both nursing a sick motors.
The weather is Evian over race weekend was scorching as a huge crowd turned out to watch the action. When we arrived in Evian on the Thursday before the race, it looked like the event could be cancelled as large waves with white tops greeted us. However the following day, all was calm and it remained that was through out the weekend.
EVIAN, FRANCE – June 29/July 1, 2018
1 – 35 – Erik Stark – 20
2 – 5 – Thani Al Qemzi – 15
3 – 6 – Shaun Torrente – 12
4 – 15 – Erik Edin – 9
5 – 8 – Peter Morin – 7
6 – 14 – Jonas Andersson – 5
7 – 50 – Marit Stromoy – 4
8 – 51 – Bartek Marszalek – 3
9 – 3 – Ahmed Al Hameli – 2
10 – 73 – Cédric Deguisne – 1
11 – 10 – Duarte Benavente – 0
12 – 9 – Grant Trask – 0
13 – 74 – Mette Brandt Bjerknaes – 0
14 – 37 – Francesco Cantando – RET
15 – 7 – Philippe Chiappe – 0
16 – 1 – Alex Carella – RET
17 – 12 – Filip Roms – RET
18 – 11 – Sami Selio – RET
19 – 36 – Simone Bianca Schuft – DNS