Sharjah Team’s Wyatt wins Indonesia Grand Prix - GulfToday

Sharjah Team’s Wyatt wins Indonesia Grand Prix

Sharjah Team’s Rusty Wyatt celebrates on the podium after winning the Indonesia Grand Prix on Sunday.

Sharjah Team’s Rusty Wyatt celebrates on the podium after winning the Indonesia Grand Prix on Sunday.

North Sumatra: The Sharjah Team’s rookie Rusty Wyatt delivered a sensational debut performance to snatch a last-gasp victory in the Pertamina Grand Prix of Indonesia on Lake Toba on Sunday morning.

The Canadian headed into the final lap in third place behind the defending World Champion Jonas Andersson and his Swedish rival Erik Stark. But Team Binh Dịnh-Viet Nam’s Andersson, who had led the race after a yellow flag on the opening lap, began to slow with a fire on his boat and it looked as though Stark of the Dubai-based Victory Team would storm through to take the chequered flag.

But, while the two Scandinavians were jostling for the lead heading down the final straight, Stark also hit technical issues and Wyatt took an outside line and stormed through to snatch victory by just 0.973 seconds.

The Ontario driver now has a four-point lead over Stark in the Drivers’ Championship with Andersson seven points behind in third.

Wyatt’s stunning success deprived Andersson of a 15th career GP win and a fifth in succession on the 300th Grand Prix in the 43-year history of the UIM F1H2O World Championship.

An elated Wyatt, who became the first Canadian and the first UIM rookie to win a race, said: “Ecstatic, it was a 30-lap race, that’s for sure, and I started to back off a bit. The water was getting pretty nasty. We had a bit of gap in between each other and I was happy with third but I saw Jonas start breaking down and Stark was having an issue and I held it wide open around the outside and there we were.

“Being the only Canadian to ever win a UIM F1H2O race is the next level. I will be going home super happy. I couldn’t ask for anything more.” Runner-up Stark said: “It was brutal. There was a misunderstanding at the start and, luckily, we did a restart and I made an amazing start and I catch Jonas. We had a really good battling for half a lap and I took him. But it was such a bad luck that someone crashed, so it was yellow-flagged and I needed to go back to my starting position.

“After that, it was basically following him (Jonas) in the race. I saw he had some problems in the end. I was catching him and then I passed him but I had some technical issue on the last straight.” Behind the runaway top three, Andersson’s Team Binh Dịnh-Viet Nam team-mate Stefan Arand was almost unnoticed in fourth place on his Grand Prix debut.

The Estonian is now equal fourth in the Drivers’ Championship with last year’s Indonesian race winner Bartek Marszalek, who finished fifth in his Stromoy Racing DAC. Team Binh Dịnh-Viet Nam has a four-point lead over the Sharjah Team in the UIM F1H2O Teams’ Championship.

Frenchman Peter Morin of the China CTIC Team and Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi initially came home in sixth and a subdued seventh until they were penalised a lap apiece for not maintaining their lane at the start.

That lifted the double World Champion Sami Selio into sixth. Norway’s Stromoy guided the Mercury four-stroke DAC to the finish in seventh and the F1 Atlantic Team’s Ben Jelf finished eighth. Team Abu Dhabi’s Alberto Comparato and the China CTIC Team’s Brent Dillard rounded off the top 10.

Morin and Al-Qamzi slipped back to 11th and 12th and Portuguese veteran Duarte Benavente and Cedric Deguisne of Maverick Racing were also outside the points in 13th and 14th.

The two great Swedish rivals, Andersson and Stark, lined up in first and second places on the start pontoon in front of thousands of spectators in cloudy conditions on Lake Toba. Stark had used the morning’s one-hour warm-up session to test his start procedure and was convinced he had a strategy to topple Andersson.

Behind them were the two rookies, Wyatt and Arand, last year’s race winner Marszalek and Selio at the start of the 30-lap opening race of the season on the 2.218km course. Comparato was down in 16th on the pontoon, sandwiched between the two Maverick Team boats of Deguisne and Alexandre Bourgeot.

Related articles