Britain’s Ben Jelf competed in the opening round of the F1H2O World Championship. The Pertamina Grand Prix of Indonesia was held on the shores of Lake Toba, North Sumatra.

The weekend consisted of Free Practice, followed by two sprint races and a longer 30 lap Grand Prix Race for the 17 drivers from across the globe.

Jelf (23, Kent) and team received a phenomenal reception once more as they returned to Lake Toba for the 300th F1H2O World Championship Grand Prix.

Jelf had made major changes to his boat set up and Engine set on making an early impact on the 2024 campaign. And it looked like the hard work of his Team F1 Atlantic Team had paid off when during free practice he was keeping pace and setting strong lap times.

He carried on progressing in Qualifying making it through to the second qualifying session for the first time in his F1H2O career and securing his best starting position of 8th place on the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix Race.

F1H2O World Championship - Ben Jelf

Saturday morning saw a free practice session that Jelf used to choose his propeller for the 14 Lap Sprint Race.

The fleet of 17 racers was split into two groups with Ben being placed in the first group with the reigning World Champion Jonas Andersson whilst Jelf’s Team Mate Benavente was placed in Sprint Race 2. As the lights went out for the start of the first sprint Race Jelf got a flying start and as the boats rounded the first turn he was in 3rd position and fighting hard through every turn of the course keeping Rookie Racer Stefan Arand in his wake.

He absorbed the pressure and took the chequered flag in 3rd earning him his first Podium finish and vital points in the 2024 World Championship campaign.

Sunday soon dawned and in front of crowds of thousands the 300th F1H2O Grand Prix got underway.

30 laps of intense edge of the seat racing ensued. Jelf was in 10th position and battling hard with Team China’s Brent Dillard and Abu Dhabi’s Alberto Comparato. But managed to keep both racers at bay to take the chequered flag in 10th position and secure more Championship points for F1 Atlantic Team. But following decisions from the race officials he was promoted to 8th with two racers docked a lap for course infringements.

Jelf is currently sitting joint 6th in the 2024 World Championship with Finland’s Sami Seilio and Norway’s Marit Stromoy as the team now turn their attentions to next Grand Prix in Vietnam at the end of March.

On a fantastic weekend for the youngster Jelf had this to say “Things are really starting to come together. We proved this weekend that we have the pace to keep up with the Best Powerboat Racers in the World. Now we just have to beat them at their own game.”

He continued “I have to thank my team for the hours of dedication in making my dream come true. I’d also like to thank our sponsors, all our supporters and the wonderful people of Lake Toba for the phenomenal reception we received”

F1 Atlantic Team travel to the Grand Prix of Binh Dinh in Vietnam over the 29th to the 31st March.

Ben Jelf

Last year we spoke to Ben Jelf, full interview.

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