LAHTI, Finland – 8th of June, 2008 – Nine time World Champion Guido Cappellini proved he can still control a race by holding off four different challengers coming home to win for the first time in 2008 and his first time ever in the country of Finland to capture the 4th Grand Prix of Finland on Lake Vesijarvi in downtown Lahti for his 67th career victory.
It was the first time in 5 years that the U.I.M. F1 World Championship for power boating had returned to Finland and the driver from Como, Italy had never won in its 10 year history. From pole position the Tamoil Team driver fought off first fellow Italian Francesco Cantando as the driver on the Singha Team charged from 5th to just behind Cappellini only to launch off a large rouge wave and crash spectacularly out of the event on the third lap.
¨This was one of the three toughest races I’ve ever run in my 152 starts,¨ said the driver who now makes his home in Monaco. ¨We now have shaken our bad luck here and look forward to next weekend in St. Petersburg, Russia to continue our streak if it is possible.¨
The race started with the pace boat leading the pack of 22 drivers around slowly with the wave conditions forcing the officials to wait until the time was right to start the event. The green flag start came 10 minutes later and once Cantando was off the course after his mishap the restart saw the pair of Team Abu Dhabi drivers Ahmad Al Hameli and Thani Al Qamzi take up the chase for the next 40 laps until Jay Price of the Qatar Team came by to take over 2nd place for the remainder of the event.
The driver from New Orleans, Louisiana had an incredible run charging from his 18th starting position moving up to 6th early setting the races fastest lap in the process before getting together with fellow driver Stanislav Kourtsenovsky of Russia down in turn 5. He failed to make the turn, going to the inside of the buoy and then by ruling of the U.I.M. officals had to do a drive thru penalty which sent him to the back of the pack starting another spectacular push to finish just 1 second behind winner Cappellini at the end of the 55 laps.
¨My crew did a great job preparing the boat for the mission today,¨ said Jay. ¨I thought I had a shot of victory but when you are behind the lead driver it’s tough for the driver behind to get a clean line to pass. Guido did a great job holding the line but we’ll 2nd and take our 3rd straight podium of the season.¨
The win by Cappellini and the 3rd by Ahmad Al Hameli moves both drivers to 27 points and 2nd in the championship while Price now has 50 with his runner-up position.
Swedish driver Pierre Lundin had a great performance in his China CTIC Team DAC boat starting back in the 10th position and finishing 4th in only his 2nd start of the season. Frenchman Philippe Chiappe had another rewarding day starting a career best 6th and finishing 5th in his Atlantic Team BABA boat.
Rookie Uvis Slakteris of Latvia continues to slide into the number one spot for the ¨Rookie-of-the-Year¨ Award with a 6th place finish after starting 9th for his 2nd 6th place finish this season in the F1 Team Sweden Malgaard boat.
Australia pilot Bob Trask of the Trask Brothers Racing Team got points for the second straight race with a 7th place finish.
Jay Price’s rookie teammate Youssef Al Khulifi starting his first full race of his career came home with a 8th place after starting 20th as the native from Doha shows a lot of promise.
Kourtsenovsky was 9th with points for the 2nd time this season while Philippe Dessertenne came home with the final point finishing 10th in his China CTIC team boat for the 2002 Grand Prix of Finland winner.
Other mishaps saw Al Qamzi crash out on the 50th lap ending his podium dreams and still has no points in the championship after three events. Homestanding hero and World Champion Sami Selio luck went from bad from to worse after he had pushed up into the 3rd place position only to have an engine misfire ending his afternoon in 14th place to the dissapointment of the large crowds estimated at 40,000.
The 4th Round of the 2008 U.I.M. F1 World Championship moves on to St. Petersburg, Russia for the 7th Grand Prix of Russia next Saturday, the 14th of June. It will mark the first time in 9 years the series has come back to this lovely city and will mark the first time in history that a race has run during the nighttime hours.