What had promised to be one of the most eagerly anticipated Grand Prix of the 2012 season ended in an anti climax fashion when the race was cut short by eight laps after the UIM Officials realised they had run out of time.
“I was really hoping for another restart” said Selio “but the rules say that we only race for forty-five minutes, so it was stopped early.”
The Grand Prix had started under leaden skies as the twenty-two drivers sped away from the start pontoon. Making perfect use of his pole position Alex Carella was able to open up a ten boat lead after just one lap, then out came the yellow flag bringing a halt to race. Xiong Ziewei, who was making his debut for the CTIC China Team had broken down on the racing line and needed to be towed off the course. With the drivers now back in their original start order Selio knew he had to get past Terry Rinker without delay if he was going to mount an attack for the lead.
“During the morning warm up I used a different propeller which made such a huge improvement to the boats balance, so my confidence was high” said Selio who quickly past Rinker. From that point he started to catch Jonas Andersson but the race had hardly got back under way before the yellow flag was out again. This time Jay Price had become stranded down the back straight. The Sky Dive Dubai driver had been struggling with a broken trim before his engine had stopped. In the restart Selio caught and past both Andersson and the French driver Philippe Chiappe, but he knew getting past Thani Al Qamzi, who was desperate to get his first ever home victory would be a tougher battle.
“I knew that Al Qamzi was going to push Carella, so I played a waiting game to see if either of them would suffer an engine failure” he said. As the race went on the gaps between the first three drivers remained constant lap after lap until the yellow flag made its third appearance of the afternoon. The Kuwait driver, Youssef Al Rubayan had lost control of his DAC in the tricky condition and had destroyed the inflatable marker buoys at turn one. With time against them the officials were unable to replace them so the remaining drivers did five laps behind the pace-boat before being given the chequered flag.
“It’s not how I had hoped the race would end” said a disappointed Selio “ I knew I had better acceleration than Al Qamzi so I was confident I could pass him in the re-start. It was a lot trickier out there than it looked” he continued “the breeze was making it very hard to control the race boats especially at turn one. I nearly lost it there when I was trying to catch Andersson.”
The result today means Carella has now secured the 2012 drivers title, but there is still much to play for as the teams head to Sharjah and the final round of this year’s championship.
“I want that runners-up position” said Selio “I’m only four points behind Chiappe and I know I have the speed I need to get the job done next week.”
Result for the F1H2O Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi:
1. Alex Carella QAT Qatar Team 32 laps
2. Thani Al Qamzi UAE Team Abu Dhabi 32 laps
3. Sami Selio FIN Mad-Croc F1 Team 32 laps
4. Philippe Chiappe FRA CTIC China Team 32 laps
5. Jonas Andersson SWE Team Sweden 32 laps
6. Francesco Cantando ITA Singha F1 Racing 32 laps
7. Marit Stromoy NOR Team Nautica 32 laps
8. Terry Rinker USA Qatar Team 32 laps
9. Stan Kurtsenoskiy RUS CTIC China Team 32 laps
10. Duarte Benavente POR F1 Atlantic Team 32 laps