H2O Racing
Union Internationale Motonautique


March 1, 2024

Friday, March 1: Team Bình Định-Viet Nam’s Jonas Andersson claimed pole position for the Pertamina Grand Prix of Indonesia on Lake Toba late on Friday morning and will also start in prime position for the first of the two Sprint races on Saturday.


The Swede carded a fastest lap of 1min 02.662sec during the 10-minute Q3 shoot-out where he lined up against the Victory Team’s Erik Stark, rookies Rusty Wyatt and Stefan Arand, last year’s race winner Bartek Marszalek and double World Champion Sami Seliö.


The Q3 session developed into a ferocious tussle between Andersson and Stark: Andersson opened his account with a stunning lap of 1min 03.756sec but Stark more than matched his fellow Swede and moved 0.374 seconds ahead of the World Champion. Marszalek moved into third place, with Seliö, Arand and Wyatt filling fourth, fifth and sixth places with six minutes to go.


Stark increased his cushion with a lap of 1min 02.685sec and Marszalek regained third behind Andersson. But Andersson responded in brutal fashion and stormed to the top of the leader board with a 1min 02.662sec run to move 0.023 seconds in front of his rival to confirm his 12th career pole position.


Both Arand and Wyatt displaced Marszalek to move into third and fourth with the Sharjah Team’s rookie Wyatt snatching third place from Andersson’s Team Bình Định-Viet Nam’s team-mate Arand in the dying seconds. Strømøy Racing’s Marszalek qualified in fifth and flying Finn Seliö rounded off the top six for the Red Devil-SMC F1 Team.


Andersson said: “It was a fantastic qualifying. Also, for Stefan (Arand). It was the first time he sat in the boat today. I am really happy for him and really proud and I am really looking forward to this season. We had a good season last year with Kalle (Viippo) but, unfortunately, it was not possible for him to continue in the team with us this season. We miss him but now young people are coming again. I am getting old but I am really happy for Stefan. The first time in an F1H2O boat and he gets P4…I mean, that’s something!”


Second-placed Stark said: “Jonas again! I am getting really tired of him! No, I’m joking. It was really tight today. To be honest, I did everything I could. Basically, it was a fourth of a straight between us. Today was his day. I’m starting second but it’s a long race and anything can happen.”


Third-placed rookie Wyatt added: “It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster day. We had some issues with our first engine that we were trying to settle out in practice. But we couldn’t overcome them. So, we came into qualifying with a new motor. Obviously, that is always a little sketchy. I am loving the DAC. I was under investigation because I only did one lap. The boat had a fuel issue, so we came in, fixed the issue and on my first lap I qualified on the pole (Q1). I just stopped and that brought me through to Q2. I was quite nervous going into Q2 in case that one lap deal was going to hurt us. Before the weekend, I thought that if I could make it into Q3 it would be ideal. We are just getting started. Now I need to stay on that podium...”


The traditional three qualifying sessions would determine the start order for Sunday’s Pertamina Grand Prix of Indonesia and the two groups that will compete for additional World Championship points in the two sprint races late on Saturday morning. With 17 boats lined up on the start pontoon in warm and humid weather conditions, four were eliminated in the 20-minute Q1 stint and a further seven in Q2 before the fastest six battled it out for UIM Pole Position Trophy points and pole position.


Wyatt ground to a halt on the race course in the opening three minutes of Q1. The Sharjah Team had changed the Canadian’s engine between the free practice session and qualifying. Racing resumed within a couple of minutes and Stark hit the front with a lap of 1min 05.068sec from Marszalek, Peter Morin, Seliö and Marit Strømøy. Andersson started his qualifying session stint late but an opening lap of 1min 06.756sec lifted the Swede into fourth with 11 minutes remaining.


Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen was struggling in 12th position and returned to the pontoon before resuming his qualifying challenge. Wyatt’s technical problem was not serious and the Canadian returned to race action and stormed to the top of the rankings with a lap of 1min 04.507sec.


The Canadian eventually topped the times in the Q1 session from Stark, Andersson, Morin and Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi. The Maverick Racing duo of Cédric Deguisne and Alexandre Bourgeot, the F1 Atlantic Team’s Portuguese veteran Duarte Benavente and the Red Devil-SMC F1 Team’s Zandbergen failed to make the cut and missed out on Q2.


Seven boats would be eliminated in the 15 minutes of Q2 but Wyatt was under investigation by race officials for an alleged incident in Q1. The Canadian was permitted to continue in a session where Morin laid down the gauntlet and clocked the opening target lap of 1min 05.160sec.


Wyatt proved that his pace in Q1 was no fluke and the Ontario racer hit the top of the rankings again with a run of 1min 04.732sec. But Stark and Andersson hit back strongly and moved to the top of the leader board with Wyatt, Morin, Marszalek and Arand hanging on to their positions in the all-important top six with seven minutes remaining. The morning’s free practice session winner Alberto Comparato was a non-starter.


Andersson and Stark eventually snatched the joint fastest time in the session (1min 03.810sec) but Norway’s Marit Strømøy, F1 Atlantic Team’s Ben Jelf, the CTIC Team’s Peter Morin and Brent Dillard, Filip Roms of the Sharjah Team and Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi failed to make Q3. Bartek Marszalek moved into the top six in the dying seconds at the expense of Morin.