ABU DHABI - Tuesday, 9 July - One year ago, almost to the day, Qatar Team driver Shaun Torrente had his worst racing nightmare come true. Looking back on it, even today, he still can't believe what happened.
The 34 year-old three-time North American Champion, was heading for his first career victory in just his ninth start on the worlds premiere stage of racing, the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour, when on a race re-start with less than three laps to be run, it all went sour for the driver from Miami.
For the tens of thousands of race fans who were watching along the banks of the Kyiv Sea, just outside the capital city in the suburb of Vyshgorod at the Grand Prix of Ukraine, they were in shock as the Floridian's boat came to a stop with a broken engine on the far side of the 2.3 kilometer circuit after leading for most of the race.
With Shaun now becoming an unwanted spectator, the victory would go to the pole sitting Finnish star Sami Selio, who regained his advantage after Torrente outmaneuvered him on a early race re-start and moved to the front of the 15 nation field of drivers.
The two-time World Championship competitor from Helsinki earned his 10th career victory and his only 20 point day of the 2012 season that evening in Kyiv.
Torrente, would salvage a single championship point with a 10th place finish, despite failing to complete the final few laps of the race.
"Last years event in Kyiv was shaping up to be a career high water mark," said the American. "I made a nice move on Sami and cleanly passed him for the lead. It's one of those days you'll always remember. You don't put yourself in a position to win twice in back to back races very often as I had after leading in both Kazan and Kiev. It turned out however, that I didn't complete either event, which was truly frustrating. The good moments of last July all washed away in an instant. I can still hardly believe it.
Now, I'm more determined than ever this season to get another opportunity to try to win it again from the front of the field. I've got a great team and we all have faith and believe in each other and that's what really defines a lot to our success."
Shaun's meteoric rise in the ranks of the worlds premiere stage of racing on the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour, hasn't come without controversy.
Last October in Liuzhou, China he and Sami Selio got together on a race re-start with Shaun hitting the 38 year-old from behind crashing them both out in a tremendous accident. The UIM officials would later rule Torrente the aggressor, sending him to the sidelines for the final two events of the season.
The tears of joy changed to tears of frustration in Kyiv in 2012, but, with the success of the Qatar Team at the opening round back in June at the Grand Prix of Brazil it is fast becoming a distant memory. Shaun finished second for his first career podium in the series, while his two-time World Championship teammate Alex Carella of Italy was third for his fifth straight podium in his last five race finishes. The confidence is back once again for everyone in the Qatar Team.
Now, they just need to figure out a way to beat Sami Selio who won in Brazil for his 11th career victory. The Mad Croc Team driver along with the multitude of other talented pilots in the paddock will be looking to win in the worst way. However, the organization from Doha will be trying to erase the disappointment of a year ago.
Don't bet against them.
The 3rd Annual Grand Prix of Ukraine around the Kyiv region situated along the Kyiv Sea will once again be a three day "Center of Speed" with qualifying for pole position on Friday the 26th followed by Saturday's Grand Prix. Both days starting at 18:00 local, 15:00 GMT and 11:00 on the East Coast of North America in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone. Sunday the 28th will feature the "President Cup" a special day of speed on water with "drag racing" F1boats going side by side to see whom will be the "King of Speed" on water this time around.
Both Friday qualifying and Saturday's Grand Prix can be watched live via the world television feed by going to the official tour website at www.f1h2o.com.
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