The Coleman Racing team descended on London at the weekend to support the 2nd round of the F1H2O Championship and witnessed Sweden’s Erik Stark produce a racing masterclass to secure victory in a pulsating UIM F1H2O Grand Prix of London. Formula 1, the pinnacle of inshore circuit racing, returned to the capital after a 33 year absence with the event also featuring support races from the F4 class which Sam has recently started racing.
It was a pulsating race from start-to-finish with Maverick F1 Racing’s Stark surviving two yellow flag periods and restarts, the first when championship leader Shaun Torrente destroyed a turn buoy, forcing him to retire on lap 10.
The yellow flag was raised again when defending world champion Alex Carella dramatically crashed out of the race when he rolled going into the Canary Wharf turn at 100 mph on lap 18 of the 54-lap final.
At speeds of up to 140 mph, roared on by an enthusiastic London crowd, Stark, who secured pole position in qualifying on Saturday, commented: “I had control of the race and so many things can happen with the boat but I felt I had a good speed, it’s always difficult, I was going 95 per cent and the restarts are always tricky.”
“The boat was bobbing a lot and the wind was tricky but the race was better than I expected – it was a fantastic weekend. I would love to come back to London next year – to be racing in a capital like London is what it’s all about and its as challenging as it should be.”
Philippe Chiappe and Peter Morin made it a double celebration for CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team finishing a close second and third after a hounding Stark from green flag to chequered flag.
CTIC F1 Shenzhen China’s Philippe Chiappe came second in the race and retains an eye on winning the championship overall. He added: “It was a very good result for me. I pushed to the maximum and we are focused on the championship. The end of the season in Sharjah is what matters.”
Peter Morin, who secured his first podium finish, was delighted to finish third. Saying: “It was an unbelievable weekend and everything worked well.”
“This wasn’t about luck because the team worked very hard to prepare for the race. I want to thank the China team for giving me confidence. I would rather take third place than push for second and risk making a mistake.”
Conditions were the most challenging of the season and during the 54-lap race, run on London’s Royal Victoria Dock for the first time in 33 years, six of the 17 starters failed to go the distance and retired.
The event was promoted by Chinese investment company Tianrong Sports, which has previously invested in China’s infrastructure, including highway roads, power plants, and petroleum equipment, as well as setting up a sports industry investment fund with former basketball player Yao Ming. Through this fund, they have invested in 20 sports-related events, sports technologies and esports and brought the F1H2O back to London this year.
The UIM F1H2O Grand Prix of London marked the tenth time that Great Britain has hosted a round of the championship; the nine previous rounds were staged at Holme Pierrepont (1981 & 1982); Bristol (1982 & 1990); London (1983, 1984 & 1985); and Cardiff (1993 & 1994).
Round 3 of the UIM F1H2O World Championship, the Grand Prix of France takes place in Evian on 29 June-1 July.