PORTIMAO, Portugal – Saturday, May 8, 2010 – Unseasonably cold and damp weather greeted the 2010 World F1 Championship tour in Portimao for the opening round of the series.
This year, a new qualifying format was being introduced adopting the same system as F1 motor racing. Qualifying is divided into three sessions with the slowest five drivers being eliminated at each stage. As there were only 17 drivers taking part in the opening round of the series, only two departed in the first outing, Marco Gambi and Marit Stromoy, although Marit never made it to the start as she loaned her boat to Azerbaijan team partner Jonas Andersson, whose boat developed an electrical fault just prior to qualifying.
After a fast and furious second sessionan Team Nautica’s Rinaldo Osculati, Thani Al Qamzi and Fabio Comparato were sidelined, the latter two with technical problems. Next to go were Andy Elliott and Fabian Kalsow leaving ten to fight it out for pole position. Qatar’s Jay Price posted the fastest time but a severe barrel-role before the final qualifyer was completed resulted in him being relegated to 10th place.
Italian Francesco Cantando was rewarded with pole ahead of Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al Hameli and local hero Duarte Benavente. Finland’s Sami Selio filled 4th place ahead of his Mad Croc team mate and reigning F2 champion Alex Carrella, Philippe Chiappe, David Padovan, Pierre Lundin, Jonas Andersson and Jay Price.
The Arade Estuary produced a mixed bag of water conditions for all drivers with a choppy surface and strong winds resulting in the yellow flags appearing twice as marker buoys broke adrift.