ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Friday, December 4, 2009 – Italian Guido Cappellini took advantage ofSami Selio’s electrical problems and drove to the lead and never gave up winning by 1.14 seconds overQatar Team driver Jay Price to win for the fourth time in his last five starts and move into first place in the U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship of power boating drivers standings at the 17th Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi on the edge of the Arabian Sea Friday afternoon.
The nine-time World Champion was trailing pole sitter Selio by over 13 seconds when the Finnish driver in his Mad Croc sponsored BABA boat lost power and dropped to third place where he would finish on the day as Cappellini would feel tremendous pressure from the defending World Champion Price all the way home in the race.
“We had just enough to control the front,” said Guido. “We knew Jay would be a hard driver to hold off but we set a pace that was quick enough for him to get close but not pass. Now we are in the lead in the points chase with 129 to Thani Al Qamzi’s 119 and with 60 points still to gained so it is not over by a long shot yet but we are gaining confidence with every victory.”
The 2.175 kilometer seven turn course on the Abu Dhabi harbor saw three World Champions on the podium for the first time this year and the top three were only separated by 3.59 seconds.
“We did our best to pass Guido,” said Jay. “We just couldn’t get close enough to make a run on him with the closest being a boat length back. We’re still in this race with 85 points but we are running out of time and now we must think only victories for a shot at the title.”
Fourth place driver Italian Francesco Cantando, who is a two time winner of the race, was 24.45 seconds back in his Singha F1 Blaze hull, with the first of the two Team Abu Dhabi drives in Al Qamzi fifth followed by Swedish driver Jonas Andersson in his Team Azerbaijan DAC hull now third in the championship table with 104 points and now desperately needing a win to have an honest shot for his first championship coming home sixth.
Seventh was French driver Philippe Chiappe in his F1 Atlantic Team Moore boat from France coming just one second behind Andersson, while Ahmad Al Hameli and his eighth place finish officially eliminating him from a title this season with 62 points and one lap behind the leaders for Team Abu Dhabi.
Italian Fabio Comparato came home ninth for the 800 Doctor sponsored boat with Portuguese driverDuarte Benavente picking up the final point of the afternoon with his 10th place finish in his Dragon built boat.
It was a battle at the front all afternoon with Cappellini holding off the remainder of the drivers and now needs to keep picking up solid points in his last three races for his much dreamed about 10th World Title.
Tomorrow’s Grand Prix will once again begin at 15:30 local, 11:30 GMT and 07:30 EST on the East Coast of North America. The 14th Round of the 2009 U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship for power boating will mark the final event in Abu Dhabi this season before the series heads to Sharjah for next weeks races on Thursday and Friday afternoons.