LAHTI, Finland – 7th of June, 2008 – Italian Guido Cappellini of the Tamoil F1 Team captured his 67 career pole position and his 3rd in four tries at the Grand Prix of Finland to put himself back in the drivers seat for the 2008 title of the U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating on lovely Lake Vesijarvi in downtown Lahti.
The 48 year-old driver who makes his home in Monaco sits 8th in the championship with just 7 points and needs to start getting back on the podium if he has any shot at the championship. His time of 40.78 around the 1.915 kilometer course was .11 seconds quicker than Team Abu Dhabi driver Ahmad Al Hameli who started on the pole at the last Grand Prix in Portugal only to finish 2nd and now sits third in the championship with 15 points. His day wasn’t without drama after he crashed in the first timed qualifying session forcing his mechanics to work double time to get him back into the water.
Ahmad’s team mate Thani Al Qamzi finished a fine 3rd to make it a 2-3 Team Abu Dhabi start with David Trask of the Trask Brothers Race Team from Australia did a 42.27 to start 4th. Fifth will be Italian Francesco Cantando reaching the top-6 ¨shootout¨ for the first time since Sharjah of 2005 and came home with a 43.64 lap.
The day was full of surprises with ex-F1 auto racing star Mika Hakkinen a two time back to back World Champion in 1998 and 1999 came out to ride with defending World Champion Sami Selio of the Woodstock Red Devil Racing Team took the Finnish hero around for the experience of pulling more than 6 times his body weight in an F1-boat at speed around the tight Lahti course. Needless to say, Mika was impressed when his time in the boat was over.
¨I’ve never experienced a sensation like this before,¨ said the ex-McLaren driver. ¨ I wanted to do more laps but we ran out of time. I hope to come back and do this again. Sami is a great champion and showed me a fantastic time.¨
Qatar Team driver Jay Price had a day to forget when he got together in free practice with Bob Trask damaging his boat and got in only 4 laps in qualifying before his engine let go to come home with a 46.66 time good enough for only 18th starting spot.
French driver Philippe Chiappe reached his first career top-6 shootout and will start 6th with a 43.73 second lap in his Atlantic Team Baba boat. Selio will start a lowly 7th wanting to do better and missing the shootout for the 2nd straight race this season hoping to improve his 4th place position in the championship tomorrow afternoon in front of a large pro-Selio fan base.
Philippe Dessertenne of the CTIC China came home a fine 8th while rookie of the year candidate Uvis Slakteris of Latvia and the F1 Team Sweden did a 44.20 second lap and 9th for the ¨Rocketman from Riga¨. Rounding out the top-10 was Swedish driver Pierre Lundin who will take his CTIC China boat off from the 10th position.