DOHA, Qatar – Saturday, November 28, 2009 – In what can be described as one of the most spell binding Grand Prix’s in the history of the sport, the 12th round of the U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship for power boating became a three boat battle to the winners circle from start to finish of the 30 minute 35 lap event in Doha Bay in downtown Doha, Qatar for the 6th Grand Prix of Qatar.
When the “war on the water” was finally finished, it was Italian Guido Cappellinidriving the Zepter sponsored boat taking a 0.92 second victory to move within three points of Team Abu Dhabi driver Thani Al Qamzi who came home in fourth position earning just enough to stay ahead in the drivers table with 112 points with four races still to be run for the drivers championship.
Cappellini, from the start, held off first current World Champion Jay Price of the Qatar Team who pushed his way side by side with the pole sitter only to drop back to third and eventually end his day in tears once again after only three laps, finishing two races on his home waters with a combined eight tours. The driver from New Orleans, Louisiana is now a distant challenger for another title.
The driver from Como, Italy found that fellow Italian Francesco Cantando would be his major challenger as the driver from Milan was draped all over his DAC hull for the next 34 laps losing by less than 10 boat lengths at the end of the race.
“We had pressure all day,” said Guido. “This was one of the hardest races I’ve ever run and I knew Francesco was all over me from the start and I had no moment to rest from start to finish. I’m glad it’s over and now I can concentrate on the next two events in Abu Dhabi where I’ve always done well in the past.”
For Cantando, it was a “meat in the sandwich” kind of day as he was chasing Cappellini FrenchmanPhilippe Chiappe was pushing hard from the back and almost passed Cantando when his trim started to act up, sometimes working, sometimes not. In the end Chiappe finished 2.5 seconds behind the winner and just 1.58 behind Cantando.
“This was a good race for our team,” said Chiappe. “We have been steadily getting better and the rough water conditions really favor our Moore boat. We’d like to see the same progress in Abu Dhabi.” While Chiappe picked up 12 points and now has 59 on the season, Cantando with his 15 now has tied Price for a fifth place tie of 70 in the championship.
A driver who put on a great performance behind the front running three boat battle for first was Ahmad Al Hameli of the Team Abu Dhabi who had been forced to start at the end of the dock because of he taking out two turn buoys in morning qualifying thus starting 17th. The 31 year-old driver from Abu Dhabi came charging up to fourth only to finish a position behind teammate and points leader Al Qamzi at the end of the day.
Sixth was Sami Selio in the Mad Croc sponsored BABA hull who wasn’t a factor all afternoon qualifying a lowly seventh after five straight pole positions with a faulty fuel pump while picking up five more points and sitting with 88 and fourth in the championship.
Pierre Lundin of Sweden in the CTIC China Team was seventh after starting eighth while one time points leader Jonas Andersson with Team Azerbaijan came home a disappointing eighth after starting ninth and has now slid down to third in the championship but still very much a player with 99 points.
Italian Fabio Comparato of 800 Doctor coming off a podium third yesterday finished ninth while Portugal’s Duarte Benavente in his Interpass sponsored Dragon boat came home tenth for the final point of the race.
The 2009 U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship for Power Boating now heads to the United Arab Emirates and the wondrous city of Abu Dhabi for the 17th Grand Prix along the corneiche. The two races begin on 15:30 local, 12:30 GMT and 07:30 Eastern Standard Time on the East coast of North America. Four races still to be run with three drivers within 13 points of each other in what is turning into a real tight struggle for the World Championship making this one of the most exciting in the history of the sport.