Friday, 18 December, SHARJAH (UAE): Team Mad Croc BABA Racing’s Sami Selio rounded out what he described as a very frustrating season in the UIM F1H2O World Championship finishing fifth in the Grand Prix of Sharjah.
Starting from sixth, Selio was immersed in a race long chase to try to overhaul Victory’s Shaun Torrente and Team Emirates Erik Stark, but despite continued pressure from him throughout the 43 lap race was unable to make the pass, Torrente eventually passing Stark in the closing stages to take third place
An historic race win went to Norway’s Marit Stromoy, the Team EMIC driver becoming the first woman in the 32 year history of the sport to take a Grand Prix win, with Team Abu Dhabi’s Alex Carella finishing in second.
The result means Selio finishes the season in seventh of 21 in the world driver’s championship, Mad Croc claiming fourth in the team’s championship. “It was a very hard race, but really our weekend started going downhill from yesterday,” he said. “We had an engine issue in practice so we had no time to test more than one propeller and get the right set-up for qualifying.
“We fixed the problem but really went into qualifying blind. The conditions were tough but we had no data to use to decide on which propeller would be best to run. So we stuck with what we knew and managed sixth.
“The [race] start was OK but from there [sixth] it was always going to be very tough. Everyone was really pushing and I was just unable to get close enough to get by Torrente. I think our propeller was too big. If the conditions had changed it may have been different.”
For the two-time World Champion with 12 career wins, his season was plagued with bad luck and one he described with a wry smile as ‘not quite the worst ever’, and one that might well have turned out very differently if not for three crucial moments; the crash in very rough conditions in Qatar with Ahmed Al Hameli when challenging for a podium finish, being taken out by Alex Carella which robbed him of a certain top three finish and a fuel issue that cost him the win in Abu Dhabi. “We have been very unlucky but at the same time have shown we have had pace,” he reflected. “In the majority of the sessions we were on the pace. I was second to Chiappe in the fast lap trophy and second in the pole position championship. This shows the package is good, the team has worked hard but sometimes you also need some luck on your side.”
Looking ahead to 2016 Selio is fired up and convinced their luck will turn. “We will go all out next year. The boat is good and in one piece, the engine is good and in one piece and I am still in one piece.”
For teammate Filip Roms the season ended with a retirement, but the young driver will look back on a year that he earned his first podium in the world’s toughest powerboat championship, finishing third in Evian in France, and despite the bad luck ended the season in the top ten.