Team Abu Dhabi take the fight to Sharjah as Swedes close in on their team crown
1st October, 2023: Sweden’s Jonas Andersson clinched the UIM F1H2O World Championship for the second time today 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.
While the defending champions had a disappointing day in Olbia, with Thani Al Qemzi finishing eighth and Rashid 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 yesterday, 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 8-10 December 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. Two years ago, Team Abu Dhabi’s Torrente won his third drivers’ title in Sharjah after technical problems forced Andersson’s late retirement.
UIM F1H2O World Championship leading positions
1. Jonas Andersson 63pts (champion)
2. Ferdinand Zandbergen 39
3. Erik Stark 35
4. Peter Morin 33
5. Thani Al Qemzi 22
6. Bartek Marszalek 20
7. Shaun Torrente 17
8. Filip Roms 16
9. Sami Selio 15
10. Brent Dillard 13
1. Team Sweden 65
2. Sharjah Team 54
3. China CTIC Team 46
4. Abu Dhabi Team 44
5. Victory 38