After becoming the only driver this season to win two Grand Prix, when he won in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, Sami Seliö, the lead driver in the Mad-Croc BaBa Racing Team saw his championship dream turn into a nightmare after he crashed out of the second qualifying session for the 14th Grand Prix of Sharjah.
The last time Seliö missed out on a top six qualifying place was back in June 2012 at the Grand Prix of Tatarstan. That time he went onto finish the race in fourth place.
Seliö had taken pole position at the Khalid Lagoon circuit the previous season and it looked like the Mad-Croc BaBa Racing team were on course to repeat that feat after the ‘Flying Finn’ had set the fastest time in the first qualifying session. During the break the team made some minor adjustments to Seliö’s Efi box. Then eight laps into the second session, as he was approaching the turn mark nearest the Corniche and much to his amazement and those watching from ashore over he went.
“I wasn’t even pushing it that hard” said Seliö, after he had left the Medical Centre. “I was sat in the Osprey Rescue boat thinking to myself have I really just ruined my title chance? No one except me is to blame; I was the one that turned my world upside down.”
With the raceboat safely ashore the team soon discovered the true extent of the crash. The left hand sponson had a huge crack running down its length and with no time to get it fixed properly it was put back into the container ready to be shipped back to the factory in Italy.
Having seen his team-mate crash out, Filip Roms then offered Seliö the use of his BaBa hull for the Grand Prix. A truly magnanimous gesture from the young driver, especially after he had qualified in a brilliant seventh place.
“Roms is more than just a team-mate, it’s great what he did” said Seliö. “How many other drivers would sacrifice their own weekend for the sake of the team, I’m truly thank-full that he’s part of ours.”
Swapping boats will mean that Seliö will now start the Grand Prix from the back of the grid.
“Sharjah is a strange place” he said. “Remember back in 2007 when Guido Cappellini broke down and I became World Champion. We Finn’s we never give up, so let’s see what will happen.”