Stark wins, Team Việt Nam top rankings at Grand Prix of Bình Định

The race was yellow-flagged on lap 17 when Filip Roms of Sharjah collided with and barrel-rolled over Brent Dillard’s China CTIC boat, putting both drivers out of the race with damaged both hulls.

Powerboat racing

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Top three finishers — Erik Stark (centre), Jonas Andersson (left) and Peter Morin of the UIM F1H2O World Championship’s Grand Prix of Bình Định-Việt Nam. Photos of organisers

BÌNH ĐỊNH — Erik Stark won the individual trophy while Bình Định-Việt Nam finished top of team rankings in the UIM F1H2O World Championship which came to an end in Quy Nhơn on March 31.

Stark of Victoria Team took full advantage of his pole position to lead the first-ever Grand Prix of Bình Định-Việt Nam from start-to-finish at the Thị Nại Bay.

The start would be crucial and Stark managed to hold off Team Bình Định-Việt Nam’s defending world champion Jonas Andersson as Shajah Team’s Rusty Wyatt found a way to pass Stefan Arand, second driver of Team Việt Nam, after the Estonian made a poor start.

The two Swedes maintained the initiative but were not able to shake off a determined Wyatt. The leading trio began to pull away from Arand, who was under pressure from Morin from the outset.

Sami Selio (Red Devil-SMC F1 Team), Bartek Marszalek (Stromoy Racing), Thani Al-Qamzi (Team Abu Dhabi), Marit Stromoy (Stromoy Racing) and Ahmad Al-Fahim (Victory Team) rounded off the early top 10.

There were no changes on the leader board through 15 laps with Stark maintaining a 3.583sec cushion Andersson with Wyatt and Peter Morin of China CTIC unable to close the gap on the leading Swedes.

The race was yellow-flagged on lap 17 when Filip Roms of Sharjah collided with and barrel-rolled over Brent Dillard’s China CTIC boat, putting both drivers out of the race with damaged both hulls.

Stark managed to stay in the lead place when the action resumed and completed the 35-lap race in stifling heat just 2.715sec in front of Andersson.

Morin was third followed by Wyatt and Marszalek.

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Boats in action at the UIM F1H2O World Championship on March 31 at the Thị Nại Bay in Quy Nhơn City, Bình Định Province.

Stark’s fifth career Grand Prix win and a first since Sharjah in 2018 has given him an eight-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship.

Andersson’s runner-up spot marked his 33rd career podium in F1H2O racing.

“I had a good race. Of course, I was pacing myself and was feeling it. I had a big moment on the start straight and I thought this is it but the boat was good, the team worked well,” Stark said.

“It was tough. It got quite rough and the wind was picking up all the time.”

Second-placed Andersson added: “I had quite a bad start compared to yesterday and I didn’t have any chance to overtake Erik. When we came out of the first lap, I know Erik and I train him. He is one of the best drivers in the championship.

“I tried to push as much as possible and I gained some time on him. Then I arrived too close and I didn’t see anything because of the spray and I had to back off. I was waiting for him to make a mistake but it was not possible to get too close to him.

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Players celebrate their top positions at the UIM F1H2O World Championship’s Bình Định-Việt Nam stage.

“We should be happy with second place. The new boat was not perfect here. I think the old boat was better but you never know. The other boat was fantastic in Indonesia. I am happy for the team. Unfortunately, Stefan (Arand) broke his propeller, otherwise the team had a fantastic weekend and Stefan qualified third.”

In the seasonal championship ranking, Stark leads with 50 points after two stages in Indonesia and Việt Nam.

Andersson and Wyatt, winner of Indonesian stage, share second position with 47 points each.

In the team’s ranking, Bình Định – Việt Nam are on top with 72 points. Shajar Team and Victoria Team are second and third with 57 points.

The next stage will be in Olbia in Italy on June 14-16.

Theo Vietnamnews