The Victory Team pairing of Erik Stark and David Del Pin continued their evolution as former four-time world champion Alex Carella powered his way to victory in the Censtar Grand Prix of Xiamen in the 2019 UIM F1H20 World Powerboat Championship, along the South-East coast of China, on Saturday.

Stark, who was briefly with Team Abu Dhabi last season, was the better of the two drivers as he came in eleventh while just missing out on the points, while his new teammate from Italy took 14th place at the fourth round of the 2019 UIM F1H20 World Powerboat Championship held on the specially set-up Wuyan Bay circuit.

Earlier in the morning session, Stark had done well to hold on to eighth place in the pole position while Del Pin had ended at the back of the pack in 17th position. But, when the race started Stark was pushed towards to outside losing his line in the bargain and at the same time struggling to keep control of his boat in tricky and windy conditions on the 2,516 metres circuit overseeing the gigantic Xiamen bridge.

“This was our first race for Victory Team and the idea was always to try and get as much as possible from every moment being out there. I am sure both of us could have done much better, but we have to take what comes our way so that the progression continues,” Stark stated.

“It will take some time before we can optimize everything to our advantage. Till then, it is left up to both of us on how we can look at the positives and hasten the learning process at such a huge world-class team that is Victory. We are both professionals and we are committed to carrying forward the good work,” he added.

In the meantime, it was Carella - who recently made the switch from Victory Team – handing out Maverick Racing their first-ever top finish. Team Sweden’s Andersson came in a distant second nearly 35 seconds behind, while Emirates Racing Team’s Marit Stromoy of Norway was third best leaving Team Abu Dhabi’s defending world champion Shaun Torrente, in fourth.

Saturday’s results threw open the race for the drivers’ world crown with Andersson replacing Torrente at the top of the standings with 47 points compared to 44 from the American driver, while Carella climbed up into fifth with 25 points chasing down Stromoy (28) and Team Abu Dhabi’s second driver Thani Al Qamzi (27), who retired after 12 laps of the 32-lap race.

Sunday will see the hosting of the penultimate round of the season at the same venue starting with the Rebellion qualifying and the Grand Prix of China from 12 noon (UAE time), after which the teams will head to Sharjah for the sixth and final round at the Sharjah Grand Prix, from December 18-21.

Results of the Censtar Grand of Xiamen on Saturday: 1. Alex Carella (Italy/Maverick F1 Team); 2. Jonas Andersson (Sweden/Team Sweden) +34.78 secs; 3. Marit Stromoy (Norway/Emirates Racing) +37.21 secs; 4. Shaun Torrente (USA/Team Abu Dhabi) +48.70 secs; 5. Peter Morin (France/CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team) +1 lap; 6. Greg Foster (USA/Blaze Performance) +1 lap; 7. Alberto Comparato (France/F1 Atlantic Team) +1 lap; 8. Erik Edin (Sweden/Team Sweden) +1 lap; 9. Bartek Marszalek (Poland/Emirates Racing) +1 lap; 10. Duarte Benavente (Portugal/F1 Atlantic Team) +1 lap; 11. Erik Stark (Sweden/Victory Team) + 1 lap; 14. David Del Pin (Italy/Victory Team +5 laps.

Teams standings at the end of Round Four of 2019 UIM F1 H2O World Powerboat Championship: 1. Team Abu Dhabi (71 points); 2. Team Sweden (50); 3. Emirates Racing Team (38); 4. CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team (23); =4. Maverick F1 Team (23); 6. F1 Atlantic Team (10); 7. Blaze Performance Team (9); =7. Victory Team (9); 9. Sharjah Team (1).

Source: Victory Team