Team Abu Dhabi’s racing trio of Erik Stark, Thani Al-Qemzi and Shaun Torrente clinched an historic 1-2-3 finish at the 22nd Grand Prix of France at Evian-les-Baines on Sunday afternoon.
Team Abu Dhabi trio was crowned in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Ruler`s Representative in the Eastern Region;Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, Adviser to the UAE President; Sheikh Diab bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan; Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Vice-President and CEO of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, ADIMSC, and a number of Sheikhs and sports officials.
The sensational result for the team running out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC) on the six-pin, 2.08km course on Lac Leman enabled Stark to storm to the top of the points’ standings and move two clear of his experienced team-mate Thani Al-Qemzi.
The Emirati pushed the team newcomer hard, as both drivers survived two yellow flag stoppages in a thrilling race where defending World Champion Alex Carella of the Victory Team was hospitalised with a leg injury after a 24th lap crash and Torrente overcame missing out on Q3 qualifying on Saturday to climb from seventh to the final place on the podium.
The race resumed on lap 31 and Stark kept his cool to stay ahead of his team-mate as the Team Abu Dhabi trio held on to snatch a memorable 1-2-3, but there was disappointment for Francesco Cantando who stopped with mechanical issues on the last lap.
Torrente said: "This is a fantastic result for the team. It’s history with a 1-2-3 and we are 1-2-3 in the championship. I was really happy with my drive. Coming from behind, it was one of my better drives. I took my chances when I needed to without being overly aggressive. The boats were prepared so well. We had exactly the same set-ups on all three boats."
Action in the UIM F1 H2O World Championship resumes in Xiangyang, China, on September 22-23.