It was ‘business as usual’ for Sami Seliö, the lead driver of the Mad-Croc Baba Racing team when he posted an impressive time of 44:82 seconds to take his twenty-second career pole position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.
What made it more impressive was that Seliö had been forced into running a brand new Baba hull after his first lap accident at last weeks Grand Prix of Qatar had left that one in Seliö’s own words ‘trashed’. On closer inspection after that race the team had found that the right hand sponson had cracked and that the transom had also been damaged beyond repair.
So when they arrived in Abu Dhabi the team’s mechanics set about rigging a Baba development hull that had been shipped to the UAE, one in which Seliö had planned to test, but the decision was then taken to race the boat. “The best way to test a new boat is to race it” said Seliö. “So we literally set about getting it ready at 8pm on Tuesday night, by 1am in the morning we headed to the hotel, but we were a little bit nervous, that is why we missed the ‘free practice session’ on Wednesday.”
He needn’t have worried because straight out of the box the new hull performed far beyond what the team had hoped for. “This new hull is a lot lighter than the last one” said Seliö, “that means we have more opportunity to sort out the weight distribution when we come to set the boat up. Today, down the far straight it was really choppy in the afternoon breeze, but this new hull is so much better than the previous one in those conditions.”
Seliö admitted that he was surprised just how well qualifying went. “This morning we struggled a little bit in the warm up, I think we were running with too much fuel and at first I thought I had made a wrong propeller choice.”
In fact Seliö stuck with his prop choice and for once a little bit of luck came his way. “As I was about to start my second lap in the ‘shoot-out’ the propeller lost a blade which was a real shame because I’m sure I could have improved on the time I set.”
Seliö was also delighted to announce that Flipper, the Nordic countries leading manufacturer of fibreglass motorboats, has once again agreed to sponsor the Finnish driver. “They were last involved back in 2008” said Seliö. “Over seventy-five per cent of their production is exported and with their market share picking up they thought now would be a good time to spread their message throughout Qatar and the UAE, let’s hope I can do that from the top step of the podium after tomorrow’s race.”
Result for the ‘Top Six Shoot-Out’ at the F1H2O Grand Prix of Qatar
1. Sami Seliö FIN Mad-Croc Baba Racing 44:82 sec
2. Philippe Chiappe FRA CTIC China Team 45:11 sec
3. Alex Carella QAT Qatar Team 45.28 sec
4. Ahmed Al Hameli UAE Team Abu Dhabi 45:68 sec
5. Duarte Benavente POR F1 Atlantic Team 46:17 sec
6. Shaun Torrente USA Qatar Team DNS
13. Filip Roms FIN Mad-Croc Baba Racing 48:82 sec