The 2013 season has just got off to the perfect start for Sami Selio, when the Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team’s lead driver secured his twentieth F1 pole position. The question on everybody’s lips though was just how much quicker could the flying Finn have gone after his Baba boat nearly blew over as he began his opening lap in the ‘Top Six Shoot-Out’.
“For sure that certainly didn’t help me set the boat up” said Selio. “There are a lot of pleasure boats on the lake and I was nearly caught out by a series of rollers as I rounded that turn.”
Throughout the day Selio had shown that he had the speed, topping the Free Practice session and then posting the fastest times in both the second and final qualifying sessions at the first ever UIM F1H2O race to be staged in South America.
“The team did an excellent job in getting the balance just perfect” he continued. “I made my decision early with what propeller I would use and following free practice I just knew it was the right choice.”
His biggest threat in qualifying came from the Qatar Team but neither Shaun Torrente nor the reigning World Champion Alex Carella looked comfortable in their DAC boats as they battled against the flighty wind conditions, especially around the eastern section of the six turn 2.2 Kilometre course.
The Swede Jonas Andersson looked very strong in his Azerbaijan sponsored Molgaard hull, he seemed to be just one of the few drivers that had found the balanced needed to cope with the long, 700 metre back straight followed by a series of tricky corners.
“Jonas was extremely fast today, he could surprise a few people in the race. To be honest I think this year is going to be very tough. The gap between the top ten drivers is getting very narrow, where once the time difference could be measured in seconds, now it’s just tenth’s of seconds” said Selio.
Perhaps one the most pleasing aspect of the day was the welcome return of the Team Abu Dhabi driver Ahmed Al Hameli, who had been forced to cut his 2012 season short after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Following a series of successful operations in America the likable UAE driver has been given a clean bill of health to go racing again.
“On a personal level it’s great to have Al Hameli back in the F1 pits, one thing is for sure though, the competition just got harder.”
Final Qualifying for the F1H2O Grand Prix of Brazil
1. Sami Selio FIN Mad-Croc Baba Racing
2. Shaun Torrente USA Qatar Team
3. Alex Carella QAT Qatar Team
4. Jonas Andersson SWE Team Azerbaijan
5. Ahmed Al Hameli UAE Team Abu Dhabi
6. Francesco Cantando ITA Singha F1 Racing
7. Philippe Chiappe FRA CTIC China Team
8. Valerio Lagiannella ITA Singha F1 Racing
9. Thani Al Qamzi UAE Team Abu Dhabi
10. Duarte Benavente POR F1 Atlantic Team