Sheikh Khaled crowns winners as Andersson dominates Sharjah Grand Prix - GulfToday

Sheikh Khaled crowns winners as Andersson dominates Sharjah Grand Prix

Sheikh Khaled Bin Abdullah Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Nicolo Di San Germano and other dignitaries during the presentation ceremony.

Sheikh Khaled Bin Abdullah Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Nicolo Di San Germano and other dignitaries during the presentation ceremony.

Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson led the Grand Prix of Sharjah from start-to-finish to earn his 14th career victory and add a maiden UIM F1H2O Teams’ Championship title to the second World Drivers’ Championship he secured at the last race.

The dominant Swede reached the finish of a yellow-flag interrupted race 2.452 seconds clear of the Victory Team’s Erik Stark. He also added the UIM F1H2O Fast Lap Trophy to his haul of awards with a best tour of 49.140 seconds.

Sheikh Khaled Bin Abdullah Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Seaports and Customs, presented the awards to the winners in the final event of the UIM F1H2O World Championship.

The championship took place under the patronage of Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairman of the Sharjah Executive Council.

Sheikh Khaled was accompanied by Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), government officials, representatives of the International Maritime Sports Federation, UIM F1 H2O promoters, and organisers during the presentation ceremony.

While Andersson was confirming a clean sweep of all four major titles, Stark finished the season as runner-up in the Drivers’ Championship and Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi rounded off the podium positions and earned his team the runner-up spot in the Teams’ Championship.

Andersson said: “It has been a very tough season against some big teams. We had a rough start to the season at Lake Toba in Indonesia in practice and I broke the engine in the race. From there, it has been four wins in a row. It is incredible for me and thanks to all the people who have been helping me. We had a perfect set-up and my boys are working really hard. For us, it is incredible to achieve this in this kind of racing with these big teams. I am really happy.”

Victory Team’s Stark took second place, while Thani Al Qemzi, who had helped Team Abu Dhabi dominate the team title race five seasons in a row, snatched third spot from China CTIC Team’s Peter Morin by half a boat length on the finish line.

Morin took third place in the series ahead of Sharjah Team’s Ferdinand Zandbergen, who had begun the race lying second in the championship, but made an early exit.

Andersson was in control from start to finish after winning the previous day’s spectacular battle for pole position with Team Abu Dhabi’s three-time world champion, Shaun Torrente.

Torrente, was unable to race following his accident during the second of Saturday’s afternoon sprint races. But he was reunited with his team today after spending the night in hospital, and undergoing extensive medical tests.

He saw his two Abu Dhabi team-mates produce strong finishes to the season after both were disappointed during qualifying, while Team Abu Dhabi also finished runners up in the team championship.

As his cousin, Thani, climbed from seventh place at the start to gain another podium and fifth place overall in the championship, Rashed Al Qemzi, the four-time F2 world champion, gained three places to finish in the top ten.

Torrente was visited in hospital, and driven back to his team hotel, by Victory Team’s Ahmad Al Fahim. The accident happened when Torrente’s boat was clipped by Al Fahim’s, and then collided with the Mad Croc Gillman Racing boat of Finnish driver Filip Roms’s.

Initially, Fahim was given a red card and disqualified. This was later downgraded to a yellow, but a yellow from the previous round in Sardinia meant that Fahim still missed the race through suspension.

“We had a good talk, and it was nice to speak to him, so that we had a chance to figure it all out,” said Torrente. “I don’t remember much after the accident, but I’m grateful to Guido (team manager Cappellinni), my team-mates, the rescue team, and everyone at the hospital.”

Torrente had lunch with team-mates and visited the pits beside Khalid Lagoon before the race. He was flying home to the US as scheduled early tomorrow, but said he was looking forward to another new season in the UIM F1H2O World Championship.

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