H2O Racing
Union Internationale Motonautique


June 14, 2024

Friday, June 14:  A fastest lap of 37.621sec was sufficient for Team Vietnam’s defending World Champion Jonas Andersson to top the times in the opening one-hour free practice session for the Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy on Friday afternoon.


Nine teams and 18 drivers will tackle this weekend’s third round of the UIM F1H2O World Championship in an attempt to become the 13th winner of the Bruno Abbate Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of a Sardinian round of the championship. Team Abu Dhabi’s  team manager Guido Cappellini amassed five (1996, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003) of the dozen wins thus far during his illustrious career as a driver that saw him become a 10-time World Champion.


Ben Jelf was the first racer to card a lap of 42.255sec at the start of the one-hour session off the shores of Molo Brin in Olbia. The F1 Atlantic Team spent part of the morning running in the engines for both Jelf and team-mate Duarte Benavente. As Jelf said: “Olbia provides interesting racing conditions with the harbour walls really chopping the water up. It is going to be important to qualify well and get through to ensure championship points.”


The Briton’s time was soon surpassed by a 39.600sec run by Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi and then times began to fall rapidly as racers became accustomed to the narrow Olbia course. Al-Qamzi retained top spot through the opening 10 minutes of the stint with a 38.746sec lap and was then the first driver to break the sub-38 barrier with a run of 37.957sec.


The Emirati’s time was surpassed by Andersson with 17 minutes of the session remaining. The Swede carded a winning run of 37.621sec to top the standings, as his title rival Erik Stark of the Victory Team slotted into third place with a 38.026sec flier.


Behind Andersson, Al-Qamzi and Stark, the CTIC China Team’s Peter Morin was fourth quickest and Andersson’s Team Vietnam team-mate Stefan Arand and Strømøy Racing’s Bartek Marszalek rounded off the top six.


Marit Strømøy continued to put vital laps on the Mercury four-stroke DAC and carded a best lap of 38.962sec that put the Norwegian into eighth behind Canadian rookie Rusty Wyatt, who only ran for two laps. Maverick Racing’s Cédric Deguisne was the only driver to sit out the first practice session.  


An official press conference kick-started what should be a thrilling weekend’s action on Friday morning. Competitors will be permitted a second one-hour free practice session from 16.30hrs this afternoon.