Victory Team’s Stark Takes Start-To-Finish Win In First Vietnam F1H2O Race

Victory Team’s Stark Takes Start-To-Finish Win In First Vietnam F1H2O Race

On Sunday at the inaugural Grand Prix of Bình Định-Vietnam in Quy Nhơn, Swedish driver Erik Stark took advantage of the hard-earned pole position he secured on Friday to win his fifth Union Internationale Motonatique F1H2O World Championship Grand Prix race and, more importantly, go into the history books as the winning driver of the first F1H2O race in Vietnam.

Victory Team driver Erik Stark won Sunday’s Grand Prix of Bình Định-Vietnam, in turn becoming the winner of the first F1H2O race in the country. Photo by Simon Palfrader/courtesy F1H2O

The Victory Team veteran led the yellow-flag-interrupted Grand Prix of Bình Định-Vietnam from start to finish, holding off a persistent challenge from defending world champion Jonas Andersson, who is also from Sweden. The win, which was Stark’s first since Sharjah in 2018, gives him an eight-point lead in the drivers’ championship after two races—he finished second to Rusty Wyatt in Indonesia on March 3.

“I had a good race,” Stark said in an F1H2O release after Sunday’s contest on Thi Nai Bay. “Of course, I was pacing myself and was feeling it. I had a big moment on the start straight and I thought this is it but the boat was good, the team worked well and I had amazing propellers from Mr. Dynamite. It was tough. It got quite rough and the wind was picking up all the time.”

The Swede completed the 35-lap race in stifling heat just 2.7 seconds in front of Andersson, whose runner-up spot marked his 33rd career podium in F1H2O competition. The result also saw Team Vietnam lead the Sharjah Team by 15 points in the UIM F1H2O Teams’ Championship with the Victory Team in third.

“I had quite a bad start (compared to yesterday) and I didn’t have any chance to overtake Erik,” Andersson said in the release. “When we came out of the first lap, I know Erik and I train him. He is one of the best drivers in the championship. I tried to push as much as possible and I gained some time on him. Then I arrived too close and I didn’t see anything because of the spray and I had to back off. I was waiting for him to make a mistake but it was not possible to get too close to him.

“We should be happy with second place—the new boat was not perfect here,” he continued. “I think the old boat was better but you never know. The other boat was fantastic in Indonesia. I am happy for the team. Unfortunately, Stefan (Arand) broke his propeller, otherwise the team had a fantastic weekend and Stefan qualified third.”

After a spectacular collision between the Sharjah Team’s Filip Roms and the China CTIC Team’s Brent Dillard that forced a yellow flag after 17 laps, Dillard’s teammate Peter Morin was able to overtake the winner of the season-opener in Indonesia, Rusty Wyatt, to snatch third and the final place on the podium when Wyatt suffered communication issues with his radioman at the crucial restart. Wyatt recovered well, finished fourth for the Sharjah Team and is now tied for second with Andersson in the points standings.

Strømøy Racing’s Bartek Marszalek and Marit Strømøy finished fifth and eighth, sandwiching Team Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al-Qamzi (sixth) and the Red Devil-SMC F1 Team’s two-time world champion Sami Seliö (seventh).

Stark’s Emirati teammate Ahmad Al-Fahim claimed his first points of the season with ninth and Dutchman Ferdinand Zandbergen rounded off the top 10.

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