S. PETERSBURG, Russia – Sunday, August 9, 2009 – Three drivers who failed to finish twenty-four hours ago were the hero’s today at the 6th round of the 2009 U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship for power boating with Jonas Andersson coming from third off the grid to grab the lead for good on the very first lap to win for the first time in over a year and pick up 20 valuable championship points at the Eighth Grand Prix of Russia in St. Petersburg.
The Team Azerbaijan driver from Sweden held off the field for 35 laps and three restarts and now slides into third position with 52 after winning for the third time in his career and his second on the Neva River.
“It was a dream day for us after what happened yesterday when we were the first boat out of the race,” said Jonas. “It was difficult since we had three restarts and I had to stay focused to make sure I didn’t give up the lead without over stressing my equipment at the same time. Russia is special place for us now having taken two wins in two years here.”
Sami Selio came home just 2.92 seconds back in his BABA hull and was happy to finish for the third time in his six starts this season and earning 34 points on the season for the Mad Croc F1 Team Woodstockgroup.
“It was a weekend we needed and I am happy despite knowing we can still go quicker,” stated Sami. “We now have a little time to continue our testing and get ready for the heart of the season as we head for China in early October with 10 races remaining.”
Team Abu Dhabi driver Thani Al Qamzi moved himself back into the lead in the drivers championship with a third place earning 12 points and now holding down 65 which is ten more than idle Jay Price of the Qatar Team. The defending World Champion failed to start after winning yesterday’s event after crashing his boat in qualifying and then having his spare boat’s electrical wiring catch fire at the start dock putting him out of the event.
Al Qamzi started back in 8th position and worked his way up through traffic to finish on the podium for the third time this season along with two solid four place finishes. Speaking of fourth, Italian Fabio Comparato took his BABA 800 Doctor sponsored boat to it’s second straight fourth place in 24 hours and now has 37 points on the season good for fifth in the championship standings.
Ahmad Al Hameli who started fifth came home fifth to finish a solid weekend for the Team Abu Dhabicrew picking up 22 points and now is fourth in the drivers table with 47 points.
Rookie driver Ugis Gross of Latvia had another good day finishing a record best sixth place and now has 15 points for the Zepter Team. His teammate and nine-time World Champion Guido Cappellini was in second place after losing out to Andersson at the start from pole position and was closing on the leader until he crashed out on the 18th lap with fellow Italian Valerio Lagiannella. Guido leaves Russia for the second straight year with no points.
Philippe Chiappe of France in the F1 Atlantic Team coming off a record setting third place and his first career podium yesterday was able to keep rolling along collecting more points with a seventh place finish.
Veteran driver Francesco Cantando started 11th and picked up three points with an eighth place finish for the Singha F1 Racing Team. His teammate Marco Gambi crashed out down in turn one on the 29th lap giving the team their only one point for the weekend with his 10th place yesterday.
Daniele Martignoni had another top 10 afternoon finishing ninth after starting 12th as he chases for the Rookie-of-the-Year honors with 10 points on the season for the Mad Croc F1 Team Woodstock effort.
Rounding out the top-10 and picking up the “Fairplay Award” for sportsmanship was Norway’s Marit Stromoy who came from 14th to 10th and picked up five points on the weekend.
Sweden’s Pierre Lundin looked to be in for a possible podium finish early as he took his China CTIC Team DAC hull on the fourth lap in fifth position only to take out two buoys and this being disqualified by the officials for the second time this season after yesterday’s fine fifth place finish.
The U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship has finished sixth of the 16 races this season and Abu Dhabi’s Thani Al Qamzi leads the championship by 10 points over American Jay Price of the Qatar Team 65 to 55 as the series switches continents to back to back races in China beginning on the 6th and 7th of October in lovely Liuzhou in the southeast part of the ancient country.
Coming into the weekend here in Russia the championship was separated by 18th points between two drivers and now as the teams pack away from St. Petersburg the top four drivers are separated by the same 18 points. The drama only gets better as the season rolls along. Stay tuned.