Lahti – Finland – June 13th 2009 – Race 2 of the Gp of Finland. Final results are Jay Price Qatar Team, Thani Al Qamzi Abu Dhabi Team and Sami Selio Mad Croc F1 Woodstock Team
LAHTI, Finland – Saturday, June 13, 2009 – Defending World Champion Jay Pricesnapped out of his two race slump and powered his way to a 7.81 second victory at the fourth round of the 2009 U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship for power boating in front of a massive crowd in downtown Lahti, for the 5th Grand Prix of Finland.
The warm and sunny afternoon was hi-lited by tremendous two boat battle between the two Team Abu Dhabi boats driven by pole sitting Ahmad Al Hameliwho held first for the first 21 minutes of the scheduled 30 minute event, before the Qatar Team driver made a remarkable pass down in turn number five and never was challenged to take his first race of the season and the fourth of his career 26 starts.
“I was really please with this new boat that I raced for the very first time this afternoon,” said Jay. “As a matter of fact it was the first time I had ever driven the boat, started second and waited for a move to slide past Ahmad with less than 10 minutes left. This is a well earned victory for the whole Qatar Team and we will use this momentum to carry us to the next race in St. Petersburg, Russia on the 8th of August.”
World Drivers Championship leading point man Thani Al Qamzi was happy with his second place after fighting his way up and then having a great restart with two laps to go moving just behind American driver but not getting a real shot at a challenge finishing with 15 points and now holding an 18 point lead 53-35 over Price for the number one position in the championship at the quarter season mark.
“We did all we could today and I am more than happy for second,” said Thani. “I’m feeling really bad for my teammate Ahmad who dropped for second to sixth on the restart and missed a spot on the podium. Hopefully we can both reach that point in Russia in August.”
Hometown hero Sami Selio made up more ground on the drivers championship with a fine third place finish and his first podium in six tries at his home Grand Prix going back since 1998. The Mad Croc F1 Team Woodstock driver started third but quickly dropped to fifth only to fight back in the final few moments of the race to reach the podium picking up 12 points for his third place finish and now in a fourth place tie for points with 19 on the campaign.
“Yeah, it was a great way to finish and the boat ran great and I was pushed along with the thought of all the thousands of fans along the lake cheering for me,” said the Helsinki driver. “Now we bring momentum for the next few months and head to Russia filled with confidence as we take a shot at another championship.”
Yesterday’s winner Guido Cappellini struggled all day in his DAC boat he recently built and one that took him to a nice win twenty-four hours earlier, starting seventh and moving up three spots late in the race to come home fourth. The driver from Como, Italy and lead driver for the Zepter Team now sits fourth in the standings with 30 points hoping to win the title for the first time since 2005.
French driver Philippe Chiappe scored his first points of the season with a fine fifth in his F1 AtlanticTeam Moore design coming up from the 11th position just in front of Al Hameli who now sits fifth in the championship with 25 points.
Francesco Cantando was seventh in his Singha F1 Racing Team Blaze boat after a drive thru penalty had him loose a great start to the race where he started 13th and now he is tied for 6th with 19 points in the drivers table.
Team Azerbaijan driver Jonas Andersson who was second yesterday struggled to take eighth while his teammate Marit Stromoy had battery and power steering and for the first time this season finished outside the top-10 in a race.
Duarte Benavente of Portugal came home with his fourth straight top-10 performance of the season in his F1 Atlantic Team Dragon boat in ninth place and rookie Ugis Gross of Latvia drove his Zepter Team boat to his third top-10 finish and now is 10th in the championship with 10 total points.
The Fourth Round of the season started off with a bang when Italian Marco Gambi blew over in the middle of the pack just 16 seconds into the race going for the first corner pin. The driver was OK, as was Italian Daniele Martignoni who also barrel rolled to a stop on the 10th tour around the course. The day’s final incident came in a run for the third position when Swedish driver Pierre Lundin barrel rolled right side up in the fourth turn on the 31st of 37 laps ending his afternoon in the cold waters of the lake.
The defending World Champion Jay Price has now moved his Qatar Team boat back to second in the championship with 35 points with Team Azerbaijan Jonas Andersson just three points back with 32 and Cappellini with 30. The championship has 12 more races to be run and the two race format seems to be a hit both with the racers and the fans as well at each Grand Prix.
The clock is already ticking for the next round at the Grand Prix of Russia on the weekend of the 8th and 9th of August in the city of St. Petersburg on the Neva River. The action is only heating up in to what looks like a special year of racing on hand in 2009.