After performing so well in qualifying fourth quickest for the Grand Prix of Qatar Sami Seliö, the lead driver for the Mad-Croc BaBa Racing Team crashed out in dramatic fashion just moments after the nineteen drivers had charged off the start grid.
As Seliö was approaching the first turn he had Jonas Andersson on his inside and his F1H2O World Championship title rival Philippe Chiappe on his outside. Just moments before the turn Seliö realised that all three of them were heading straight to the scene of an accident, so took the split second decision to back off especially after Chiappe had tried to nudge Selio out of the way. Seliö was then caught in the Frenchman’s rooster tail propelling his BaBa hull through the air which then landed on top of the Blaze hull driven by Francesco Cantando. Fortunately the Italian driver was unharmed but both boats are, in Seliö’s own words, ‘trashed’.
“That was a bigger crash than it looked” said a relieved Seliö, “I knew there wasn’t enough room as we reached the turn so I backed off and the next thing I knew was that I was flying through the air. If I had landed a metre to the left I would have smashed through Cantando’s cockpit.”
Seliö was then towed back to the pits where the team discovered that his BaBa hull had sustained serious damage to its right hand sponson. To make matters worse his two rivals for the F1H2O World Championship title, Qatar Team drivers Alex Carella and Shaun Torrente both looked very comfortable out in front.
All that was about to change as with just a lap and half to go till the race conclusion Torrente collided with his fellow countryman Terry Rinker, resulting in Rinker barrel rolling out of fifth place. As the yellow flags came out Carella backed his speed off and then just ground to a complete halt. Unable to get going he was finally classified in eighth place. Torrent did manage to keep going and went on to collect his maiden UIM F1H2O victory.
Going into the penultimate Grand Prix taking place next week in Abu Dhabi, Torrente now leads the championship on fifty-five points with Chiappe just four behind. Then its Carella on forty-seven followed by Seliö on forty-four.
Seliö’s team-mate Filip Roms trebled his 2013 World Championship points tally after putting in one of his best driving performances resulting in seventh place. “He did a great job all weekend” said Seliö, “He must like this place as he also finished seventh here last year.”
A brand new BaBa hull is now waiting in Abu Dhabi and Seliö, along with his team, will be putting in a lot of hours to get it rigged ready for the race which takes place on the 28th and 29th of November.
Result for the F1H2O Grand Prix of Qatar
1. Shaun Torrente USA Qatar Team
2. Jonas Andersson SWE Team Azerbaijan
3. Philippe Chiappe FRA CTIC China Team
7. Filip Roms FIN Mad-Croc BaBa Racing Team