Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al Qemzi produced a battling performance to claim a 44th career podium finish today as Jonas Andersson won the Grand Prix of France to extend his lead in the F1H2O World Championship.
Andersson, the 2021 world champion, recorded a comfortable victory from Sharjah Team’s Ferdinand Zandbergen and Al Qemzi in a race littered with dramatic moments on the Sâone River in Macon.
After edging out Andersson to secure pole position in spectacular fashion 24 hours earlier, Team Abu Dhabi’s three-time world champion, Shaun Torrente, was disqualified for a race infringement when he missed a buoy while holding the early lead.
Torrente had made a perfect start and was building his advantage over the Swede before a misjudgement at a turn on the third lap saw him cut inside a buoy and make a prohibited 360-degree turn to re-enter the race.
A mechanical failure for Frenchman Cedric Deguine brought out the first of three yellow flags, and the second followed soon afterwards when Finland’s Filip Roms flipped his boat.
From, the restart, Al Qemzi, who had climbed four places after starting ninth, powered his way up to third as he looked build on a career record which includes ten Grand Prix wins, two championship runners up spots and six third place finishes.
Within moments, the race mayhem continued as Alberto Comparato and Marit Stromoy collided to halt the Grand Prix again, but none of the interruptions could shake the composure of Andersson who continued on his untroubled path to victory.
With Andersson opening up a 15-point championship lead over Victory Team’s Erik Stark, who finished fifth today, Team Abu Dhabi will still hold hopes of challenging for both the drivers’ and team titles when the championship resumes in Sardinia at the end of September.
UIM F1H2O World Championship leading positions (provisional)
1. Jonas Andersson 43pts
2. Erik Stark 28
3. Ferdinand Zandbergen 27
4. Bartek Marszalek 20
5. Thani Al Qemzi 19
6. Peter Morin 18
7. Shaun Torrente 17
8. Sami Selio 15
9. Filip Roms 11
10. Brent Dillard 11