Florida native and Qatar Team driver Shaun Torrente has high hopes for the second round of the 2013 Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) F1 H2O World Championship in Kyiv, Ukraine. After finishing second in June at the Grand Prix of Brazil for his first career podium in the series, Torrente has his eyes on the top spot this weekend—and for good reason.
Last year at the Grand Prix of Ukraine, the three-time North American champion was heading for his first career victory in just his ninth start on the world's premiere stage of tunnel boat racing when, on a race restart with less than three laps to go, Torrente's boat came to a stop with a mechanical issue along the banks of the Kyiv Sea after leading for most of the race.
With Torrente forced into a spectator role, the victory went to pole-sitting Finnish star Sami Selio, who also won the season's first race in Brazil last month.
But that's all in the past according to Torrente, who is proud that he will be receiving his official UIM super license—he had a provisional license until he completed 10 races.
"This is the most relaxed I've been in two years," Torrente said. "I feel like everything has settled down. I know where I stand with my team, I'm getting my regular license, which means no more provisional, and I know if I do my job, I'll be in the top three. I believe in my heart that we can win this."
When Torrente says "we" he's referring to himself and his two-time defending world champion teammate, Alex Carella of Italy. Carella finished third in Brazil to claim his fifth podium in his last five race finishes. Needless to say, the confidence is high for everyone on the Qatar Team.
"The most important thing is that our team finishes first," said Torrente, who added that the team's data acquisition and analysis as of late is allowing the crew to make setup changes quicker, and more precise, than ever. "That being said, I still want to beat Alex and he still wants to beat me. I know that the hardest person to beat out there is my teammate. We have the same equipment, so that pushes us even more because you can't blame the boat if you get beat."
The third annual Grand Prix of Ukraine is a three-day "Center of Speed" event with pole-position qualifying on Friday, followed by Saturday's Grand Prix. Events on both days begin at 6 p.m. local time and at 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time Zone. Sunday's "President Cup" is a special day of "drag racing" as F1 boats compete side by side to see who will be crowned the "King of Speed." Both Friday's qualifying and Saturday's Grand Prix can be watched online www.f1h2o.com.