As he was making the final preparations to the opening round of the 2013 UIM F1 H2O Championship Sami Selio, from the Mad-Croc Baba Racing team joked that Brazil was a long way to send your equipment and come away with no points, well he need not have worried after he dominated not just the Grand Prix but the entire race weekend.
Prior to the Brazilian race eight of the last thirteen pole sitters have gone onto win the Grand Prix and today would be no exception. As soon as the lights went out Selio made a blistering start and by the time he had reached the first turn a substantial gap had already opened up between himself and the chasing pack behind him.
“The start was what we were most worried about” admitted Selio. “We have not been able to get any telemetry read out all weekend and that data is so crucial when we analyse the practice starts. Plus, we were not sure on the engines performance racing here at a higher altitude than normal, but luckily everyone was feeling their way all weekend.”
Selio’s great start proved to be to no avail though, as out came the yellow flags followed swiftly by the pace-boat. The young Chinese driver Xiong Ziwei from the CTIC China Team had barrel rolled his DAC at the first turn.
With the rookie driver safely ashore being checked out by the medical team, the Grand Prix quickly resumed and it was business as usual for Selio who now had Shaun Torrente from the Qatar Team filling his mirrors.
As the race reached the one thirds distance, Selio had opened up a lead of over five seconds but was now catching up with the back markers. The first of which was Francesco Cantando, who although had started from the back of the grid following an engine failure in qualifying, was now battling with the Philippe Chiappe for sixth place.
“Lapping the back markers was really tough today” said Selio, “I don’t think they knew it was me, perhaps they thought it was my team-mate Filip Roms, I think it caused some confusion.”
Such was the pace of the leading trio of drivers that it wasn’t long before they had lapped the field up to fourth place. Meanwhile the time gap between Selio and Torrente would yo-yo lap after lap as they made their way round the 2.2 Kilometre course laid out on the artificial Lake Paraná located on the eastern side of the nation’s capital Brasilia.
With just a handful of laps remaining out came the yellow flags once more. This time it was Selio’s team-mate Roms who had been caught out at the same turn which had accounted for Ziwei. The young Finnish driver, who had been battling with Pal Virik Nilsen, had tried to overtake the Norwegian as they approached the turn but had misjudged the rollers and over he went.
With barely enough time to remove the stricken Baba hull the race officials ran an extra lap so that the race would not finish under the yellow flag. Selio made no mistake and crossed the line to take the chequered flag.
“This is the first time in my F1 career that I have won the opening round of the championship” said a delighted Selio. “It’s been an unbelievable weekend where I’ve topped all the timing sheets. Now we head to Kyiv, where it feels like a home race because we have so many friends there.”
Perhaps more importantly though it’s where Selio has always finished on the podium.
Final Result for the F1H2O Grand Prix of Brazil
1. Sami Selio FIN Mad-Croc Baba Racing
2. Shaun Torrente USA Qatar Team 0.1:00
3. Alex Carella QAT Qatar Team 0.2:66
4. Thani Al Qamzi UAE Team Abu Dhabi 0.3:37
5. Philippe Chiappe FRA CTIC China Team 1 lap
6. Francesco Cantando ITA Singha F1 Racing 1 lap
7. Ahmed Al Hameli UAE Team Abu Dhabi 1 lap
8. Valerio Lagiannella ITA Singha F1 Racing 1 lap
9. Youssef Al Rubayan KUW F1 Atlantic Team 1 lap
10. Marit Stromoy NOR Team Nautica 1 lap