At the last race of the series in Sharjah American Shaun Torrente (above) fulfilled a life-long ambition by winning the UIM World F1 Championship for the first time in his career.
The driver from Florida had learned his trade on the US formula scene and during that long apprenticeship he had endured many scary incidents in a variety of cats. Even when he left his wife and daughter at home to join the UIM World F1 Series he was certainly no over-night success. After the 2017 season in Dubai’s Victory team Shaun convinced the Abu Dhabi team manager Guido Cappellini that he was determined to reach the top and the Abu Dhabi ‘family’ had the potential to give the determined American the perfect opportunity to fulfull his ambition. Cappellini agreed to add Torrente to his driver line-up and he joined Thani Al Qemzi as part of Team Abu Dhabi. In a most unusual swap, four-time world champion Alex Carrella, who had been part of the Abu Dhabi organisation, took over the American’s seat in Scott Gillman’s Victory team.
Obviously, Cappellini was determined to boast a formidable driver line-up as he also signed up Sweden’s multi F2 world champion Erik Stark. Little did we realise just how strong the Abu Dhabi three boat team would be. Before the season was half way through, the UAE trio were dominating. If it wasn’t Stark winning, it was Torrente or Al Qemzi, indeed at a meeting in China Team Abu Dhabi finished a race occupying the top three places.
2nd in the standings Abu Dhabi’s Erik Stark and 2nd in the Sharjah race Jonas Andersson
Crunch time came in the final two rounds of the 2018 season. Although Torrente held a slender lead in the championship over his two team mates, technical issues during the Abu Dhabi GP cast a shadow over his title challenge. However, when the trio arrived in Sharjah for the Grand Finale this weekend they enjoyed a unique situation, no other team could catch them. The permutations were fairly straight forward as even if Stark won Torrente only had to finish in the top four to clinch the gold medal. Al Qemzi broke down on lap 17 while Pole Setter Stark collected full marks with a fine victory, BUT, Shaun Torrente crossed the finish line in third place, enough to clinch the 2018 UIM World F1 title. Sweden’s Jonas Andersson filled second place ahead of Mad Croc Sami Selio, Erik Edin and Phillipe Chiappe.
The top three drivers this year Erik Stark, Shaun Torrente and Thani Al Qemzi
2018 UIM F1H2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – FINAL STANDINGS
1. Shaun Torrente (UAE) – Team Abu Dhabi – 89pts
2. Erik Stark (UAE) – Team Abu Dhabi – 85pts
3. Thani Al-Qemzi (UAE) – Team Abu Dhabi – 74pts
4. Peter Morin (FRA) – CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team – 54pts
5. Philippe Chiappe (FRA) – CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team – 42pts
6. Marit Strømøy (NOR) – Emirates Racing Team – 35pts
7. Jonas Andersson (SWE) – Team Sweden/Team Amaravati – 29pts
8. Sami Selio (FIN) – Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team – 28pts
9. Erik Edin (SWE) – Team Sweden/Team Amaravati – 25pts
10. Ahmed Al-Hameli (UAE) – Victory Team – 18pts
11. Francesco Cantando (ITA) – Blaze F1 Team – 17pts
12. Alex Carella (ITA) – Victory Team – 9pts
13. Filip Roms (FIN) – Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team – 9pts
14. Bartek Marszalak (POL) – Emirates Racing Team – 8pts
14. Grant Trask (AUS) – F1 Atlantic Team – 8pts
16. Cédric Deguisne (FRA) – Maverick F1 Team – 7pts
17. Duarte Benavente (PRT) – F1 Atlantic Team – 5pts
18. Simone Schuft (DEU) – Blaze F1 Team – 3pts
19. Sutthipan Sookbuangbon (THI) – Maverick F1 Team – 1pt