Grand Prix of UAE, the penultimate round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship, is being held in Abu Dhabi during 8th and 9th December.
by Philippe Stiernon
It's taken weeks of planning, a trip to Canada and a flight halfway around the world for both boat and driver but Rookie-of-the-Year front runner Shaun Torrente arrives from Miami to race for the Qatar Team looking to change his luck for this weekend's Grand Prix.
Torrente's Peters and May sponsored Gran Prix hull is like a comfortable pair of shoes for the 33 year-old driver from Florida who has won two North American Champ Boat titles in this very short but quick hull. The hull has over the weekend been scrutinized with the addition of new crash boxes and added weight to meet the qualifications to race on the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour.
'We have done a lot of work preparing this boat for international competition and we think we have the reached a place were we will hopefully make an impression tomorrow in qualifying,' said Shaun. The only question mark we have are the placing of the added weight and how the boat will handle with the new crash boxes that were added the other day. All in all, we hope we can hit a home run with this California built boat.'
Shaun comes into the weekend tied for 10th place in the drivers championship with nine points. He earned all his points at the opening event at the Grand Prix of Qatar in Doha back in March with a fourth place finish. At the second round in Portugal he qualified sixth and fought for the lead of the race only to crash out with Norway's Marit Stromoy on a restart early in the Grand Prix.
The six time North American race winning driver qualified second in Kazan only to crash for a second straight event. In Kiev Shaun's race ended on the opening lap with a mechanical problem after he had qualified a respectable ninth on the grid.
He failed to make the Grand Prix of China in Liuzhou and now has joined the Qatar Team to help in their efforts for a World Championship.
'I want to thank not only Khalid Al Kuwari of the QMSF for bringing me on the team but my sponsors Peters and May for having faith in my program and help me make a run for Rookie-of-the-Year honors,' stated Shaun. 'We hope all our bad luck is over for the year and we can push for our first podium and win of our international career. Lastly, my other partner who has been a bright light in my success so far is Ted Gryguc of Ontario, Canada who is a past World Champion himself and knows how I like things done when I arrive at the circuit. Ted is my eyes and ears as my radioman and helps with his wealth of experience in the sport as well.'
Eighteen drivers from 12 different countries will begin free practice in the morning on Thursday from 10:30 to 11:30 local time. Official qualifying and the battle for pole position will take place at 15:00 local (11:00 GMT) and can be viewed live around the world online
Sunday's Grand Prix will take place at 15:30 local (11:30 GMT) and also viewed on the UIM F1 H2O World Championship website as well.
It's been 10 months since Shaun Torrente has finished a race and earned championship points. Will the string be broken driving his third different race boat in his last three races? Can he make the best out of a boat he knows so well? Time will tell tomorrow afternoon as the sixth round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship and the 20th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi comes to the corniche for the 18th year in this lovely seaside city along the Persian Gulf. UIM F1 H2O World Championship website
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4:46 PM Wed 7 Dec 2011 GMT
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