Friday, December 8: Young Italian racer Alberto Comparato topped the times in near-perfect racing conditions on Khalid Lagoon in an extra free practice for the Road to Sharjah-Grand Prix of Sharjah early on Friday afternoon.
In a change to the original timetable, drivers were permitted to test their boats before the one hour of official timed practice on the water.
Peter Morin of the China CTIC Team and Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson were the first duo out on to the water and the Swede carded the early target of 47.385 seconds before returning to the pontoon while his crew made minor tuning adjustments.
Alberto Comparato (46.774sec) and Shaun Torrente (47.152sec) eventually beat Andersson’s time in a session where 18 of the 21 boats took to the water, despite a yellow flag stoppage when Brent Dillard dislodged a turn buoy. Only Bartek Marszalek, Grant Trask and Erik Stark skipped the first practice stint.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al-Qemzi was classified in seventh. The Emirati said: “The last race of the season and I will try to do my best here in Sharjah. We try to win and I am happy to race here in F1H2O. We have a strategy. All of us need to win this race. The World Champion (ship) is closed already but some teams are fighting for the second and third place. For us, we lose it this time but we try to jump on the podium.”
Two-time World Champion Sami Seliö has not enjoyed the best of seasons but the Sharjah Team driver is determined to prevail on his team’s home waters. The Finn finished the opening stint in fifth. He said: “Obviously the priority is to make sure that we protect Ferdinand’s (Zandbergen) second place in the championship. I guess, for me. It’s really a case of trying to win this race. We had a good test here recently and I’m feeling confident.”