F1H2O World Championship comes down to the wire with Torrente holding a slight advantage

Nick Watkins - Writer 10:29 19/12/2019
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Leading the pack: Shaun Torrente

This Saturday sees the finale of the 20th UIM F1H20 Grand Prix of Sharjah, the final championship race of the decade, and it promises to be a blockbuster ending to the season.

On Saturday evening, either Shaun Torrente, of Team Abu Dhabi, or Jonas Andersson from Team Sweden will be crowned champion. Reigning champion Torrente, heads into the decider with a five-point advantage over his rival, with the standings currently 64-59. Andersson is chasing his first F1H20 crown, and has already enjoyed his best year-end finish.

The Grand Prix is set to be a nail-biting affair as a win for Andersson with Torrente finishing in third will see the Swede crowned champion, however if Torrente finishes ahead of Andersson, or indeed in second place, even an Andersson win will see the champion retain his title. Should neither driver win the race, Andersson must beat Torrente by a six-point margin for victory.

Close to victory: The final race of the season is on Saturday

Close to victory: The final race of the season is on Saturday

Torrente, from the UAE, won in Sharjah in 2016 and has placed on the podium four times in the emirate, while Andersson has also enjoyed strong displays in the city, finishing as runner-up in the last two years, and bagging third-place finishes in 2008 and 2006. Both men have had a successful season thus far, dominating the podium places. Torrente has won twice, while Andersson has one win, one-second place and two third place finishes.

The 2019 season has also seen fine performances from Emirates Racing’s Marit Stromoy with three top five finishes and on the podium in China, Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al Qemzi picking up podiums in Portugal and France and a revitalized Alex Carella winning in China for Maverick F1 Racing. Stromoy, currently in third place in the overall standings, will be looking to have a say on who wins the championship, having enjoyed a blistering season herself. She is on-course for her best year-end position and is no stranger to Sharjah, having won there in 2015.

Also looking to put a spanner in the works is four-time world champion Alex Carella, who put a tough 18-months behind him with a win, propelling him into fifth place in the standings and is now in contention for a top three finish. The Italian enjoys racing at Sharjah, having won twice before and finished on the podium three times previously. Not to be overlooked this weekend is the CTIC duo Peter Morin and three-time champion Philippe Chiappe. Morin is searching for his first podium finish of the season, but is in with a shout of finishing in the top three. Chiappe however goes into the race in top form having followed up a pole in France, with a podium in China.

The drivers’ first opportunity to get out on the 2.057km Khalid Lagoon circuit is official practice which takes place on today at 10:15 followed by Rebellion Official Qualifying at 15:30, with a second practice session on Saturday morning followed by the UIM F1H2O Grand Prix of Sharjah at 16:00. The event is free to attend and fans are encouraged to arrive early as traffic in the area is expected.

Sharjah has seen a number of spectacular endings over the years including Sami Selio’s incredible comeback in 2017. Selio, who now races for Sharjah Team, came from behind against hall of famer, Guido Cappellini to land him his first of two world titles. In 2015, fans watched in awe when Norway’s Marit Stromoy made history when she won for the first time. Fans are set for a memorable ending to the 2019 season as nine different active drivers have won on the Khalid Lagoon before, meaning even with one race left, this season is far from over.

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