H2O Racing
Union Internationale Motonautique


March 1, 2024


Friday, March 1:  Team Abu Dhabi’s new recruit Alberto Comparato set the fastest lap of 1min 03.435sec in the first free practice session for the Pertamina Grand Prix of Indonesia on Lake Toba early on Friday morning.  The young Italian beat defending World Champion Jonas Andersson of Team Bình Định-Viet Nam by 0.335 seconds and third-placed Filip Roms of the Sharjah Team by 0.891 seconds in the 90-minute stint.


Comparato said: “After Sharjah, we were getting ready with my team and Guido (Cappellini) called me and I couldn’t say no to him (to join Team Abu Dhabi). It is not easy to take Shaun’s spot but I will try my best. Coming from my boat to this one, it’s a DAC, so it’s quite similar.  Of course, they have better equipment to what I had. I am getting used to it. First practice was good. I had to learn a new prop because they use completely different to mine. But I like it. Now we see later…”


Shortly after first light and in a bid to alleviate any potential issues with a strengthening wind in the afternoon, 17 racers and nine teams took to the water early for the opening session of the new season on Lake Toba.


The Victory Team’s Erik Stark carded the first lap (1min 05.624sec) of the new year but that was quickly beaten by a 1min 05.062sec run set by Team Abu Dhabi’s new recruit Alberto Comparato. Team Bình Định-Viet Nam’s Stefan Arand ran a lap in F1H2O racing for the first time and stopped the clocks in 1min 17.909sec in the opening five minutes of an extended 90-minute session. Fellow rookie Rusty Wyatt then ran even quicker with a lap of 1min 08.745sec.


Comparato continued to set the pace and shaved one and a half seconds off his best time on his fourth lap. Every driver except for Marit Strømøy had taken to the water after 13 minutes of the session and Comparato continued to lead from Jonas Andersson, Stark, Peter Morin and Thani Al-Qamzi. Arand was already getting to grips with his new boat and a lap of 1min 06.607sec put the Estonian in sixth place.


Andersson hit the front with a tour of 1min 03.771sec only for Comparato to hit back and return to the top of the rankings with a 1min 03.435sec run. With an hour of the session remaining, Comparato continued to lead from Andersson and the Sharjah Team’s Filip Roms displaced Stark and moved up to third. Strømøy moved up to 12th after her second lap in the four-stroke DAC.


Comparato maintained his advantage at the halfway point of the session after running 12 laps of the Lake Toba course. The Italian held on to win the stint that was interrupted by a rapid-fire yellow flag stoppage in the final 15 minutes. Rookies Arand and Wyatt were eventually classified in sixth and 13th with Ben Jelf of the F1 Atlantic Team also running strongly in eighth.