The F1H2O World Championship Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi is being held during 28th and 29th November 2013. Finnish driver Sami Selio came out last in the final Q3 'Shootout' qualifying session and set the fast time of the day to take pole position for tomorrow afternoon's Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi the fifth and penultimate round of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship for powerboating.
Sami Selio of Finland of Mad Croc Baba Team action at the F1H2O World Championship Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi 2013
The 38 year-old driver from Helsinki set fast time in Q2 in his newly purchased BABA boat from Italy with a 45:00 second time around the 1.9 kilometer six turn circuit in downtown Abu Dhabi along the corniche just inside the Persian Gulf.
He waited while the others came out one by one in Q3 with French driver Philippe Chiappe of the CTIC China Team sitting at the top of the scoring sheets with a 45.11 looking for his first career pole position. His dream was shortly shattered when the Mad Croc Team driver went still faster and the only driver to set a sub 45 second lap with a blistering time of a 44.82 to take pole by .29 of a second.
'We were really pleased how everything turned out today,' said the two-time World Champion. 'We have our new boat and I felt very comfortable with it at the start and keep working at it until my setup was just right.
Not a bad start to a race weekend after last week's short race in Doha when we crashed out at the start.'
For Sami, this was an important move for hopes of a third World Championship. Currently he is sitting third 11 points behind American Shaun Torrente of the Qatar Team who's engine failed him just as he was ready to make his run for his second career pole. Now, the driver from Miami must start at the back of the pack.
For Chiappe, it's also good news considering he was disqualified in Doha thinking he had finished third only to leave with no points and now sit 16 back of Torrente with two races to be run in the 2013 campaign.
'We worked very hard getting back on track after losing our podium a week ago.' said the likeable French driver. 'Now, with a good result tomorrow our dreams of a World Title are back on track. We'll see.'
Third was Torrente's teammate Alex Carella of Italy who is the two-time defending champion at this circuit and who captured his second straight World Title here by winning here a year ago. His time of a 45.28 was .46 of a second slower than Selio, but is a good position considering he is second in the drivers standings with 48 points.
Home standing driver Ahmed Al Hameli is fourth for Team Abu Dhabi looking for his first win in seven previous starts with a time of a 45.68 lap while Portuguese driver Duarte Benavente put in a great effort with a 46.17 second lap finishing his best qualifying of the year for the F1 GC Atlantic Team.
Kuwaiti Youssef Al-Rubayan, a teammate of Benavente, qualified seventh with a 46.55 second lap just missing reaching the 'Shootout' Q3 session at the last minute coming off his first podium of his career last week in Doha.
American driver Terry Rinker of Team Azerbaijan was in the top-six and looking at reaching the shot for a pole position until his engine misfired and stopped forcing an engine change and now will be joining fellow Floridian Torrente at the tale end of the field in tomorrow's Grand Prix.
Thani Al Qamzi of Team Abu Dhabi qualified a disappointed ninth position with a time of a 46.61 chasing his first ever victory while Norway's Marit Stromoy driving for Team Nautica qualified tenth with a 46.78 as she looks for another top-five finish tomorrow.
The 22nd race in the 20 year history of the longest standing Grand Prix of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship calendar will take place along the corniche starting at 15:30 local, 11:30 GMT and 6:30 Eastern Standard Time along the East Coast of North America tomorrow afternoon in front of thousands of race fans who take in this event as a 'must see' occurrence every year.