SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates – Friday, December 11, 2009 – Gudio Cappellini battled his way to a third place finish to finish a four year quest to win his 10th World Championship at the Grand Prix of Sharjah, the 16th and final round of the 2009 U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship for power boating at a rain driven event in front of thousands of race fans along the corniche on the Khaled Lagoon.
Pole sitter Sami Selio of theMad Croc sponsored boat had a great start and as he tore away from the pontoon the three boat battle for the world championship immediately heated up with unexpected results that saw one-half of the Team Abu Dhabi drivers ofAhmad Al Hameli blow over in a side by side battle with Cappellini for third place heading for the first turn pin. Ahmad blew completely over ending his day in dramatic fashion.
Meanwhile, farther up front defending World Champion Jay Price of the Qatar Team was trying to make up for a slow start when he realized that Al Hameli had crashed and let up on the throttle only to slide sideways not setting as he tried to get around the first turn, barrel rolling and continued to drive away minus his boat and engine cowl in the process. Price’s dream for his second consecutive title died quickly when a few laps later his engine minus the cowl ingested salt water causing his power plant to lose power ending his season.
On the restart Selio stormed ahead with ease while behind him Cappellini and Al Qamzi set the start of a momentous struggle that last three laps with both boats touching each other more than one with Thani at one moment climbing alongside Cappellini somehow miraculously saving it and eventually passing the native from Como, Italy for second place all the way to the end of the 38 lap event.
Cappellini soon realized all he had to do was to keep in line, finish third, and win his tenth title. For Cappellini it was the first crowning since the 2005 season and 38 races and four years in the process in a historic day for the sport.
“I am both tired and thrilled to get this 10th Championship,” said Guido. “Finally, it took awhile and now I feel that it is something very special since it took such a long time and hard work to reach one of my ultimate goals. Now, we will take some time and decide what is next in our future. Today it’s a dream come true.”
The driver from Helsinki, meanwhile cruised to a 46.01 second victory while winning his seven career number one place on the podium at the same time. “It was a dream come true to fight off the competition and win as we did today,” said Sami. “This points us in the direction on a positive way for the start of the 2010 season.”
Finishing fourth and on the same lap was Swedish driver Jonas Andersson who finished 53.23 seconds back while Norweigan driver Marit Stromoy tied her best finish ever with a fine fifth. German driverFabian Kalsow in his BABA boat took a sixth in his China CTIC sponsored machine for his second best result of the season.
Swedish driver Pierre Lundin was seventh in his DAC boat with rookie driver Malcolm Goodmanfinishing another top ten with an eighth in his Qatar Team Dragon. Another rookie, Rinaldo Osculati was ninth in his Mad Croc sponsored BABA making him the final driver to finish the grueling event on the 2.235 kilometer six pin course.
It took nine months to complete and the 16th and final race to decide it but the 29th Year since the start of the U.I.M. F1 H2O World Championship has come to a close with the all-time entrant, winner and now 10 time World Champion Guido Cappellini came to finish off one of his major dreams in live, to win ten titles. Now, as the 20 year veteran decides his future he can be looked back at as someone who is very special in the history of the sport and whose records will be goals set by future drivers in the upcoming years.