LIUZHOU, China – Wednesday, October 7, 2009 – Swedish star Jonas Andersson of Team Azerbaijan powered his DAC from the second position off the start pontoon into first place on the opening lap and never looked back taking his second victory in the last three races and moving into first place in the U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship for powerboats in front of tens of thousands of race fans on the Liu River in downtown Liuzhou.
Andersson has quickly become the driver of the moment picking up 47 points in the last three races and sliding ahead of today’s third place driver Thani Al Qamzi of Team Abu Dhabi with a 79 points to Al Qamzi’s 77 who ended up 43.12 seconds back at races end on the 43rd lap.
“It was a big day for us as the weekend started badly crashing the boat in practice eventually taking fifth yesterday and capping it with a win today,” said Jonas. “We feel we have the momentum to keep on pushing towards December and our first title. I got a great start today and pushed and never looked back this was the key and the boat was brilliant which made it a lot more comfortable for me at the same time.”
For Al Qamzi, it was a struggle but the hard work paid off with a solid performance and 12 valuable points especially after his teammate Ahmed Al Hameli had a heartbreaking failure to finish on the 37th tour while chasing for second place.
“We didn’t have a brilliant day, but a satisfying afternoon and despite losing the championship lead I feel confident we can get it back if not by the next race, by the time we reach the Middle Eastern part of the tour and on home ground,” said Thani.
Taking second was three time winner in China Guido Cappellini of Como, Italy who started fourth and worked his way up and had a brilliant re-start to push into second on the 25th tour and chased Andersson all the way to the flag coming within 4.93 seconds at the end of the afternoon. The nine time World Champion celebrated his 98th podium finish and moves into shouting distance of the drivers title with 49 points as he chases that all illusive 10th title for the fourth straight year.
Pole sitter Sami Selio had his dreams of back to back victories shattered with a broken propeller on the13th tour while in the third position as he chased defending race and World Champion Jay Price of the Qatar Team who outraced Selio on the first lap and was in second only to end his day with an engine problem on the 25th lap. The American sits third in the championship with 55 points having not picked up any points in the last three straight starts. Selio of Finland is a point back in fourth with 54 heading to Shenzhen in ten days time.
Pierre Lundin of the China CTIC Team had another great afternoon finishing fourth after taking a third place yesterday and now has 35 points and is ninth in the drivers championship. His teammate on China’s race team Fabian Kalsow of Germany took sixth and continues his streak of finishing every race he’s started with 18 in a row.
Marit Stromoy of Norway drove to her best place ever taking fifth in her Team Azerbaijan DAC starting the race all the way down in 16th position and fighting her way up to her first top five of her career for the veteran F2 driver.
Duarte Benavente of Portugal drove his Atlantic Team Dragon boat to seventh after starting eighth, while Australian driver Craig Bailey coming back into F1 for the first time since 1999 picked up his first points in over 10 years for the Qatar Team as a replacement driver for the injured Andy Elliott of England.
Italian Marco Gambi got his Singha F1 Racing Team’s only points with a ninth place finish while his teammate Francesco Cantando dropped from the race with a broken propeller on the seventh lap while up in the top four after finishing second yesterday.
French driver Philippe Chiappe took home the final point of the afternoon for Team Atlantic steering his Moore built boat to tenth after finishing fourth yesterday as he sits tenth in the drivers standings with 33 points.
So, the first half of the 2009 U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship has come to a close with two drivers within two points at the top of the table. As the season now shifts into it’s second half 160 points are still up for the taking and it’s anyone’s guess who will come away with the ultimate prize in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates in mid-December.
The next round of the championship will take place for the third straight year in the small but exciting circuit in Shenzhen on the edge of the South China Sea near Hong Kong. A lot of racing is still at hand and the two events will be again back to back on the 17th and 18th of October wrapping up the China tour of the season.