PORTIMAO, Portugal – Sunday, May 9, 2010 – It’s very rare that the size of the field increases after the red lights go out at the start of a race but that’s what happened in the opening round of the 2010 UIM World F1 Championship in Portimao, Portugal.
As the fleet stormed away from the dock, Jonas Andersson, Fabio Comparato and Marco Gambi just drifted away and as the wind took them towards the circuit, a yellow flag was waved as Francesco Cantando led the charge. Engineers worked frantically on the silent engines and after a few minutes Comparato and Gambi were back in action.
Abu Dhabi’s Ahmed Al Hamli was now in the lead chased by Cantando and Portugal’s Duarte Benavente. Once more the yellow flag was waved as Rinaldo Isculati stopped on the racing line allowing the field to bunch up. At this stage Benavente pulled into the pits when his power trim stopped working.Thani Al Qamzi, Jay Price and Sami Selio had started down the grid but after the yellow flags the threesome had worked their way through the pack to join the front-runners.
CTIC China’s Philippe Chiappe had made his way through to fill 3rd place ahead of Al Qamzi and the Abu Dhabi pilot secured 3rd place when Chiappe dropped out. It was a close battle between Selio and Price through to the finish with Qatar’s Price just securing 4th place while Price’s team mate Andy Elliottfilled 6th spot behind Pierre Lundin. It was a bad day for Team Azerbaijan as Andersson never got away from the dock while his team mate Marit Stromoy‘s engine seized after she had worked her way through the pack to 7th place by lap 20. Selio’s team partner Alex Carrella was going well until a mechanical problem forced him out on lap 29.
Of the seventeen starters and 42 laps, only eight made it to the finish line and Fabian Kalsow andDavide Padovan were both deemed finishers although Kalsow, Padovan and Elliott had only completed 40 laps. After the dust settled we learned that Selio was disqualified for a race stoppage after his engine briefly stopped while Gambi and Comparato were disqualified for receiving outside assistance.
After the foul weather on qualifying day, mother nature produced hot sunshine and just a gentle cool breeze for the duration of the race which was enjoyed by a large crowd of local enthusiasts.