Andersson lifts world title with win in Sardinia - GulfToday

Andersson lifts world title with win in Sardinia

Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson in action during the Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy.  Courtesy: UIM F1H2O website

Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson in action during the Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy. Courtesy: UIM F1H2O website

Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson clinched the UIM F1H2O World Championship for the second time on Sunday with a convincing victory in the Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy.

Andersson’s start-to-finish success in Olbia also puts Team Sweden in a strong position to secure the team title won for the last five times by Team Abu Dhabi.

The 4.95-second race win also enabled Team Sweden to extend its advantage over the Sharjah Team to 11 points in the UIM F1H2O Teams’ Championship. While the defending champions had a disappointing day in Olbia, with Thani Al Qemzi finishing eighth and Rashed Al Qemzi tenth, they will still take the fight into December’s final round in Sharjah, which has produced so many dramatic finishes over the years.

Andersson was crowned champion in Sardinia after an impressive third successive Grand Prix victory, cruising home from Frenchman Peter Morin, with Sharjah Team’s Ferdinand Zandbergen taking the third podium spot to go second in the championship standings.

The Dutchman will now look to secure the silver medal in Sharjah, although he can expect to come under press from his two closest challengers, Victory Team’s Erik Stark and Morin.

After his pole position success on Saturday, Andersson looked in complete control following his superb start to take an immediate lead, which he never looked like surrendering.

Stark instantly swept past Italian Alberto Comparato to initially grab second place, but later dropped back to fifth and slipped to third in the championship.

Team Abu Dhabi’s two Emirati drivers were unable to recover from their qualifying setbacks yesterday. Thani Al Qemzi, winner in Olbia last year, gained one place from his starting position but could not mount a climb through the field.

After securing his fourth F2 world title earlier this month, Rashed Al Qemzi had problems at the start of yesterday’s qualifying sprint race, and while he could not find a recovery today, has clearly shown himself to be a rising star in top level powerboat racing.

The championship now reaches its conclusion on December 8-10 in Sharjah, which over the years has provided some dramatic finishes, and twice brought triumph for Team Abu Dhabi at Andersson‘s expense.

In 1999, Shaun Torrente retained his UIM F1H2O world title when he edged out the Swede on a countback after Andersson won the Grand Prix on Khaled Lagoon. Andersson looked set to claim his first world crown until a damaged trim on the last lap for three-time world champion Philippe Chiappe saw Torrente squeeze past the Frenchman to snatch second place.

It meant Torrente and Andersson finished tied on points with two wins apiece, and the Team, Abu Dhabi star emerged as champion as he had recorded one more second place finish.

Two years ago, Torrente won his third drivers’ title in Sharjah after another tense conclusion. The American driver thought his championship hopes had been destroyed after just eight of 38 laps when a brush with Poland’s Bartek Marszalek sent him sideways into an unavoidable collision with team-mate Thani Al Qemzi, putting both Abu Dhabi boats out of the race.

Andersson looked to be on his way to a second successive race victory to retain his world title, before technical problems on the 28th lap forced his retirement.

Among the drivers who will be aiming for a big finish to the season on Khaled Lagoon is Sharjah Team’s double world champion, Selio.

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